Identity and Purpose: What is yours for African Fashion

Identity and Purpose: What is yours for African Fashion

Happy New Month. Here is to wishing everyone peace, love and harmony this new month of August. Identity and Purpose, what is yours and why does that matter for African fashion to succeed.

I thought I knew mine, in fact, I have rehearsed my purpose time and time again with every new version of my “About me” section which I always updated as my purpose became clear to me. Well that was until this summer, yes, the summer of my second year of existence as isiomastylereport. I was challenged by a different entity in ways that made me question not only my identity but also my purpose with African Fashion. I will always be so grateful to the entity (whose identity I will withhold) because they forced me to really dig deep about my intentions for African Fashion.

As some of you may know, I started this site because I wanted to be different. I wanted to simply write about African Fashion in a critical way. I already write for a living but in a scientific way for peer-reviewed journals with their strict protocols, so the issue for me is not writing per se. My biggest issue or so I thought was the angle, what aspect of African fashion will I cover and why should anyone care about the angle.

I knew I did not want to be another blog selling stories of who wore it best. I knew that I did not want to be another “me to site,” just reposting meaningless stories with no purpose or angle. I wanted to be different and yes I wanted to be “The voice of African Fashion,” a voice that will lead, inspire and uplift people. I still plan to accomplish this purpose, but things will change and here is how.

By day my identity is that of a researcher, I study people for a living and I think I have a good sense of people’s intention and purpose, although in the realm of health. I am not a good judge of character in other instances and I try to see people in a positive light even though the signs are there and right in your face. Nevertheless, I study people and not for fun but to make real positive and sustainable contributions to the world paying close attention to social determinants that often make things difficult. With a PhD in Biobehavioral Health and Demography, I have seen the world and my education has taken me to places  far and wide to study people.

Sub-Saharan Africa holds a dear place in my heart because I was born and raised there, Nigeria to be specific. I am so passionate about changing health outcomes of people in sub-Saharan Africa and I have managed to do so since my first year of graduate studies at Penn State, coupled with intern year at the World Health Organization, a program specialist at UNESCO and now a tenure track professor at a top university in the US. So my education and work have given me the platform and credibility to do what I love, which is to study the health of people in sub-Saharan Africa.

I also love fashion, African fashion to be specific. I started this blog due to my love for African Fashion. I also started to simply give a space for African Fashion to flourish. My blog is 2 years old now and I am forever grateful for the opportunity to write always about my thoughts about African Fashion in my own unrestricted way without anyone censoring or critiquing how I write. It has been and will always be a dream of mine to combine my love for fashion and my passion for health in sub-Saharan Africa, this is my purpose from now on. But for some reason, I thought I could never combine the two together.

Then came this summer and a stint at NYU with some incredible researchers and people who I am forever grateful to have met for the clarity and sense of purpose they have now provided me. So here is the plan, I will move forward with my passion for health and in the near future, I will combine it with my love for African fashion in a scientific way. My identity will always be a researcher and my purpose is to improve health outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa using fashion as a strategy. Will this work, only time will tell.  But do stay tuned as isiomastylereport.com is destined to change the way people address health and fashion in Africa soon.

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