Here’s Why Labour’s Jovan Owusu-Nepaul Gets Fashion’s Vote

Jovan Owusu-Nepaul

by Henrik Lischke |
Published on

Pantsuits, dresses, coloured ties - when politicians are faced with one of life’s bigger questions - ‘What shall I wear today?’ - they have a steadfast formula to circumnavigate sartorial challenges, and it’s called method dressing.

Method dressing, you ask, that thing that Margot Robbie did for the Barbie promo tour? And Zendaya for all press appointments of Challengers? Yes, exactly that. Just minus the fun archival designer looks and tennis-themed terry cloth dresses. Sadly, there is no pass-agg merch in sight either, such as Loewe’s ‘I Told Ya’ slogan tee. No, method dressing in politics is a lot less titillating and 90% of the time comes in the shape of some item of clothing in the shade of its wearer’s political party. Yawn.

©@jovanforclacton

But a unicorn amongst shirehorses is emerging in the ranks of the Labour party, breaking with political dress conventions. Meet Jovan Owusu-Nepaul, the young party member, who’ll be going up against Nigel Farage, to convince voters in Clacton to put him in the Essex seat.

Next to a long list of impressive accolades, featuring a master of studies (Mts) in history from the University of Cambridge, as well as having served as chair (one of the youngest Labour chairs of all time) of the Lewisham Deptford Constituency Labour Party as the first British African/Indo-Caribbean ever to hold the position, he’s also proved to have a more confident sense of style than the majority of his more seasoned counterparts.

Jovan Owusu-Nepaul
©@jovanforclacton

His campaign get-ups are a breath of fresh air in a sea of power suits and smart casual hoodie outfits that are meant to semaphore ‘I’m here to serve the people’ and ‘I’m just like you’ but fail to do all of the above. Enter tweed blazers, fair-isle sweater vests, and wide-leg trousers: Owusu-Nepaul owns the preppy look and it doesn’t even feel, well, forced at all. But why do Owusu-Nepaul’s wardrobe choices stand out, when any east-Londoner worth his salt wears the same look on at least five days a week? The answer is simple. Because it’s refreshing to see someone in politics with a knack for dressing up without causing a major affront.

Jovan Owusu-Nepaul
©@jovanforclacton

And why’s that? Because he does so authentically. Key players in politics want to stand out, but not for the wrong reasons (insert ironic pause here), and unfortunately fashion, if done wrong, can do exactly that. Sometimes that comes at our cost (sorry, Adidas Sambas - we miss you, too) and most definitely always at theirs (hello, Theresa May’s shoe collection), but method dressing - sticking to the theme, steering clear of any fashionable dares - crushes any sprinkle of personality under its thumb and acts like a safety blanket to not draw in anymore negative attention.

And how successful is it really? The jury is still out. But sometimes, it’s refreshing to know someone has real life interests and places importance on conveying even the tiniest bit of personality via their wardrobe choices. After all, image is everything.

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