Meet the Maker: Deborah Campbell

Take a look at the catwalks, even a cursory one, and you’ll see punchy slogans and political sayings here, there and everywhere. But for Deborah Campbell, the founder of Future Fe+male and the designer behind our newest T-shirt collaboration, wearing your heart on your sleeve isn’t just a statement in style, it’s a quiet revolution.

“In the spring of 2017 I first had the idea for the brand. I’d suddenly become hyper aware of how sexist everyday language is, and not just for women, but for boys and men too.”

Tired of society brandishing boys as weak or girls as over-emotional, Deborah sought to make a difference through clothes by igniting conversation. “I found myself asking what if every day sexism is less about tackling the extremes and more about identifying the everyday language peppered with stereotypes?”

“Seemingly normalised language like ‘man-up’ and ‘hysterical’ has created a foundation for bigger issues like domestic abuse, suicide and toxic masculinity to manifest.”

Fast forward to 2019 and Deborah is practising what she preaches. After taking the plunge and launching Future Fe+male – a sustainable fashion label meets social enterprise – her aim has gone from strength to strength.

Stylish clothing with a heartfelt message? Tick. Working with charities such as Women’s Aid? Check. Talking in local schools? Check. World domination? Probably.

In celebration of this mission and our Future Fe+male T-shirt collection, we asked Deborah to list the throwaway words she wants to reframe…

Hysterical

“I once heard the word used by a woman to describe another woman because she had called Trump a misogynist. I immediately realised this word is often aimed at devaluing a woman’s point in any discussion. I decided to embrace this crazy, out of control, emotional word and stand in its power.”

Calm Down

“I’ve heard these words spoken many times to me and around me, from both men and women. My most recent experience was when I was told to calm down, coupled with a shushing motion in a workplace scenario. I calmly told them, I’m absolutely fine and okay, and moved the conversation onwards. I took the power out of their need to control my emotional behaviour.”

Boys Will Be Boys

“This saying tells boys very early on that it’s okay to get away with certain types of behaviour.”

Don’t Overreact

“This is a classic phrase said to women. Women are often asked to suppress emotionally charged discussion, whether categorised as anger, passion or annoyance. An angry woman is not something society encourages.”

Stop Crying Like A Girl

“Crying is attributed to being weak. Boys and girls learn these stereotypes and form unconscious bias on how they should act or be perceived.”

So, who’s with her?

Shop the Future Fe+male collection and follow @wearefuturefemale for more moments of empowerment