He’s a big fashion fan (Picture: Mercury)
This is James Mabellan, a young non-verbal boy with autism who’s become a new face of Primark.
James, seven, was diagnosed with autism when he was two years old and started modelling just last July after being scouted while out and about with his mum, Dior.
It was his bubbly personality and eye-catching style that helped the little fashion-lover stand out, and Dior, 43, couldn’t be more proud.
Dior, who is James’ full-time-carer, said: ‘To see my child out there on the billboards, I feel very proud and very accepted.
‘There is definitely a revolution at the moment when it comes to inclusivity.
‘When you see a Black child with autism be out there working with these big brands, it is clear that things are moving on in the world, and we are so grateful.
‘James loves fashion, and he is very keen to get into the industry, so he certainly is on the right tracks already at such a young age – he always wants to be dressed in Gucci because it is his favourite brand!
‘Last summer, we were at a pop-up fashion sale in central London and someone approached us. James was wearing a bright Gucci outfit, and they asked if James wanted to model.
‘They asked him questions, but he’s non-verbal and finds it difficult to communicate, so I told them he is autistic – they then referred us to Zebedee models who manage diverse models.
‘All our friends and family are so proud of him’ (Picture: @james_zebedeetalent / Mercury Press)
‘After he was signed, we went to Manchester for a shoot for Primark which was an amazing experience.
‘He loves the camera and knows how to pose – it only took 30 minutes to get the pictures.’
Dior first noticed James wasn’t like the other kids when he was just a baby.
James behind the scenes of a shoot with mum Dior (Picture: @james_zebedeetalent / Mercury Press)
She said: ‘I took him to the doctors when he was one as I thought something was wrong.
‘When he was about six months old, he wouldn’t play with normal toys and couldn’t give eye contact.
‘It was horrible seeing my child getting worse by the day – he was diagnosed at age two.
‘I had to learn so much about the condition – I was worried about what life was going to be like for my son.
‘There is now lots of support in the community, and he goes to a specialist school which really cares for his needs.
‘All our friends and family are so proud of him – people take pictures of James on the billboard and send them to me – it makes me happy every time I see it.’
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