Long time now #anewageinspiration post? Today’s interview is with Wilson Oryema who I happily stumbled on whilst reading ELLE’s sustainability issue. Wilson is an ecological activist who has recently released a volume of poetry called Wait, it is no wonder I was eager to interview him given that he espouses all the things that I’m passionate about. Beyond the realms of discussing consumption in the modern day, Wilson has also modelled for brands that include Versace and Hugo Boss. But, it is clearly evident that Wilson is the boss here; a pioneer for future generations and an inspiration to interview.
What led you into the career you are now and how do you hope it will develop in the future?
I would say it all started with the modelling. About 4 and a half years ago I was stopped in the street and asked to walk a runway show. From there it was meeting the many interesting people in fashion and art who i learned a lot from and made me more comfortable with the idea of self expression: through writing, photo, film, etc. In the future I hope to dive deeper into each of these mediums, and create content which is culturally relevant and impactful. As well as that I’m trying to expand my knowledge on sustainability in fashion & beyond, and from there work more directly with brands (hopefully in a sustainability officer/director/adviser type role.)
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A few friends and loved ones… group shot for @dazed shot by my dear neighbour @hannamoon69 ❤️ styled by @agata_belcen makeup @namiyyy casting @emersondanielle @reed_danny words @clairemahealy art direction @reidjamie Also special thanks to @isabellaburley and everyone else who made it possible And thanks to #dazed for allowing me to take over their stories for the exhibition “rubbish_1” last night which you can still check out for the next few hoursss ❤️✨
What was the inspiration behind you latest book ‘Wait’?
It grew from a photo and video exhibition I made a few months prior (also titled “Wait” about consumption). As a lot of friends wanted to attend but couldn’t make it, I had wanted a way to document all of the content that was in the show and thought about doing a book. Initially it was a photo book, however, I figured it would be better to communicate through poems and short stories as it can sit in even more spaces.
How do you feel that social media has impacted the way that you share your work and ideas?
It has made me more confident in sharing without hesitating, or fear about how my work will be received. You realise you can’t care or control (too much!) how other people will react to your work. You just have to release it, let it take its own path.
You take a an anti-consumerism stance in your works but what is the force behind this message and what do you hope to achieve as a result?
I’m not anti-consumerism, at all. I’m very aware of the importance consumerism has on our development and advancement as individuals and as a society. However, I feel we are currently in a space where we are consuming way too much in an unhealthy way, and for that we need to practice more considered consumption. Whether it be in buying products, as well as the way we consume ideas, narratives, others, etc.
With regards to sustainable menswear, what do you think can be done to improve the industry and how does this compare to the female clothing industry?
It’s difficult to say one thing that could be applicable industry-wide as moving towards sustainability isn’t necessarily a linear path. Each brand, depending on how they produce and distribute clothes (based on sourcing, location, economy, etc.), has unique hurdles to overcome to become sustainable. However, i think one thing that every brand can and should do is join the 2020 circular fashion commitment.
Who inspires you, on a political, literary or wider level?
Elon Musk, Harley Weir, and Adwoa Aboah are the first three that come to mind.
If you had to give one piece of advice to young people today, what would it be and why?
Don’t hold back on any ideas and projects you have, if you have an idea do it and to the best of your ability. I say that because regret is really painful to live through. Even though i’m only in my 20s there’s so many projects/ideas in my teens I regret not taking seriously.
Wilson truly is a new age inspiration who’s message of not holding back any ideas and completing them to the best of your ability is so important and I definitely think that regret is painful to live through – especially in the age where there are so many opportunities to grab with both hands. Adwoa Aboah is definitely an inspiration to me as well and what is important that I took from the interview is that sustainability definitely is not a linear path and it is one of constant re-evaluation and improvement and this is mirrored in consumerism as well. Why wait to buy his book? You can find a copy here.
lots of love, eleanor xx