Ijeoma Okochi-Agwu Uses Fashion as Force for Social Justice

Mary Nnah

As the world commemorates World Social Justice Day, it’s imperative to reflect on what this day signifies, particularly for the marginalised communities in Nigeria.

In a country where social issues like sexual violence against women and girls, inequality, climate change, and physical and mental health disparities persist, the role of social justice advocates becomes even more crucial.

Consequently, Ijeoma Okochi-Agwu, the Creative Director and Visual Artist for Eejiomah, a self-named brand, is committed to addressing these pressing social issues through creative storytelling and advocacy.
Okochi-Agwu has been at the forefront of using fashion as a vehicle for social change.

At the heart of Ijeoma’s brand awareness – Eejiomah – is the belief that fashion can be a powerful tool for storytelling and advocacy. Through relatable narratives and thought-provoking campaigns, her brand sheds light on issues such as preventing sexual violence against women and girls, raising awareness about sickle cell disease, combating climate change, and promoting mental health awareness.

“Fashion has the power to weave narratives of empowerment, challenge harmful stereotypes, and spark conversations that lead to meaningful social change. Through creative storytelling and advocacy, I not only dress bodies but also clothe movements for justice and equality”, she noted.

One of Okochi-Agwu’s past projects includes a sip n shop fundraising for underprivileged children living with sickle cell disease in Nigeria. Through fashion-innovative initiatives, she not only raised funds but also sparked conversations and brought attention to the challenges faced by these children and their families.

Another notable project was the “Portraits of Pain” exhibition, a poignant black and white photographic showcase that was exhibited in prestigious venues like Imperial College London and the Black Cultural Archives London.

This exhibition aimed to humanise the experiences of individuals with invisible chronic pain and illnesses, challenging societal perceptions and fostering empathy and understanding.

Furthermore, Okochi-Agwu produced and directed the provocative short film titled “What Were You Wearing?”.

The film aimed to debunk harmful stereotypes and narratives surrounding fashion choices and their supposed correlation with violence. By amplifying the voices of survivors and advocating for victim-blaming narratives, the film sparked important conversations and challenged societal norms.

Looking ahead, she continues to innovate and inspire the future including collaborating with government school children to envision a greener future using fashion as a catalyst for change. By teaching environmental consciousness and creativity to the younger generation using fashion and art, her brand seeks to pave the way for a more sustainable and equitable future.

On this World Social Justice Day, the efforts of brands and individuals like Ijeoma Okochi-Agwu who use their platform and creativity to champion social causes and advocate for a more just and equitable society deserve applaud. As we strive for a better future, let fashion be not just a statement of style, but a symbol of solidarity and social change.

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