by Omar-Farouq Edu
The definition of the word ‘Fashion’ lives through freedom of expression. It is a way of life that has no limits and yet I am made to feel otherwise. The sayings of “Express yourself but just don’t be too out there” are words put together that contradict the idea of creativity being unlimited. I love Nigeria and I can’t speak for everyone but this is definitely the voice to a fraction of the community.
I understand that there are terms and rules of your society/community but expressing yourself shouldn’t be one of them. I believe we are born as originals and yet we live in imitation and die as a copy. There is this underline taboo way of thinking that you have to look and act a certain way to fit in but won’t you rather stand out?
My thoughts may be influenced by the fact I spent 10 years in London followed by 2 years in New York and L.A. My eyes were opened to people with a refreshingly loud and exciting vibrancy to them. As I always say ‘your style introduces you before you even speak’ and these people made me feel welcomed into their world. This was just by being creatively opened and styling themselves with artistic choices to show a deeper understanding of how their mind works. The fascination of it all emphasises the magic of creativity that leaves room for bold interpretations.
As the late great Michael Jackson once said, “It’s better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation” which is extremely relatable to the youth of Nigeria. We are so scared of being judged/looked at in a certain way but it’s time for the youth to start highlighting their voices because it’s ours and no one else’s. There is an underlying fear of what friends may think so we rock designer labels to prove that we are worthy in other people’s perspectives. This is the exact reason why I stay away from labels and go towards the old school common vintage route.
The amount of times I hear ‘Farouq I love how unique you are” is unreal. It may sound like a compliment but yet it aggravates me. We are the future of Nigeria so we should have our own platform to speak freely on. The minute we start to have a voice is the minute we can see Nigeria blossom. The ideology of other people’s expectations equals to being stuck in the sheep culture. This isn’t to say you have to be influenced by the western world; This is to say you can also rock that home pride African look by making it you and putting your personal stamp on it. I often hear it’s good to think outside the box but I think to myself why is there a box in the first place because I personally don’t see one.
An Artist is the complete opposite of a robotic soul but the danger of that is people are scared of what’s different. Once you look different people turn assumptions into facts; it’s just human nature. People assume that you’re an outcast, spoilt, gay or just damn right confused. The fact is most of the time this is never the case. People take you more seriously once you speak their language when it comes to physical appearance. I feel this should be the opposite because it should make someone think, “Wow! here is someone that stands out and isn’t scared to be themselves.”
As Oscar Wilde once said
“Be who you are, because everyone else is taken.”
Omar-Farouq, 25, has a Bachelor’s in Drama/Creative Writing for Kingston University London and a Master’s in Acting for Film in New York and Los Angeles. He has a few short stories and poetry under his belt, as well as IMDB credits for two American movies. He also landed a scene in Nigerian production, The CEO and is presently building his personal magazine.