May I Introduce: Ebele Ojechi
Ebele Ojechi is my new designer crush. The young Londoner has barely finished her studies in sportswear design, but already I love her cool urban style!
Most of her lookbooks and editorials are in a street style setting, which goes well with the urban, sporty aesthetic of her clothes. A definite London girl! Her matching stripy trousers and jacket are super cool, especially if you’re like me and love a fun co-ord.
The baby blue outfit is a particular favourite, not only because I love a bit of sporty street style, but the statement behind it. Ojechi and her fellow student Beth Smith created the designs together as part of their fashion course, which was inspired by the lack of diversity in media representations of beauty and body ideals - an issue we are all familiar with by now. As they say, “many have been conditioned to believe that what they see in the media is the only version of normality. It is the responsibility of the media to document and promote a broader, more diverse picture of life; encompassing life experiences, and varied forms of beauty.” (artsthread)
With this in mind, the duo’s designs were inspired by women who are dangerously underrepresented in the media: victims of female genital mutilation, their muse being one of these women, and the affects such an ordeal can have on one’s femininity and sense of self. Their design statement reads:
“FGM has been illegal in the UK since 1985 when the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act was passed; yet not a single prosecution has been made. There are 66,000 recorded UK Victims. The law has failed. The real numbers are unimaginable as FGM is an act shrouded in superstition and secrecy. Concealed from the general public.
“Our muse is one of these victims, living in London and suffering in silence. She is misrepresented by the media and ignored by those in positions of ‘power’. We want to use our power, the power of fashion, to embolden these females and raise awareness to the reality of the cruelty taking place on our doorstep.
"Through extensive research we found that many of the victims felt that a part of their femininity had been stolen from them. Consequently we decided to design without any consideration of stereo typically female aesthetics. Tomboy styles and typically unflattering clothes inspired our silhouettes. We looked at initial gender development and how genders are distinguished by a specific colour. We took these basic ideals and used them in reverse. Rejecting society’s connotations and cladding our muse solely in blue. We used contrasting textures in the same colour to represent the different aspects of our society that are commonly glazed over. It is the absence of femininity, the outrage of the crime, and the ignorance of the UK society that has influenced our designs.” (artsthread)
What amazing women! It is so important to help a broader representation of women in the media in any way that we can, whatever our ‘power,’ is, fashion, photography, or whatever amazing talents you have!
In all, we hope Ebele Ojechi is destined for great things, to keep making a positive difference to representation of women, and super cool clothes of course.
PHOTOGRAPHY CREDIT: Joshua Allen
TEXT CREDIT: Eva Klein for PAPERBOATS.me
April 19, 2016
Labels: On track, May I introduce