Fashion takes on mental health with Styling the Mind

Female Speakers for Styling the Mind Nigeria

The Nigerian fashion scene pulsates with vibrant energy. Dazzling lights illuminate captivating runway walks, and gasp-worthy outfits turn heads. But beneath the glamorous facade lies a different story for many creatives. The relentless pursuit of perfection, the pressure to conform to unrealistic beauty standards, and the constant hustle can take a significant toll on mental health.

The Nigerian creative industry is vibrant and full of potential, but behind the glitz and glamour lies a pressing issue that often goes unnoticed—mental health. Recognizing this gap, Adesola Adeyemi, an international fashion model and mental health advocate, has taken a commendable step forward by organizing a transformative event titled “Styling the Mind.” This initiative is set to empower individuals in the creative industry by addressing their mental health needs, providing necessary resources, and offering mentorship to equip them with the tools they need for mental wellness in their personal and career journeys.

Adesola Adeyemi and Models at Styling the Mind
Adesola Adeyemi and Models at Styling the Mind
Aliet Alier at Styling the Mind Nigeria
Aliet Alier at Styling the Mind Nigeria
Aliet Alier speaking at Styling the Mind Nigeria
Aliet Alier speaking at Styling the Mind Nigeria

The current state of mental health awareness

Imagine the world watching your every move, judging every imperfection. Now, picture jet-setting around the globe, facing constant rejection, and working gruelling hours to achieve that “perfect” look. This isn’t a dystopian novel; it’s the reality for many Nigerian fashion models like Aliet Alier.

“The pressure to be this perfect ‘muse’ is unreal,” confesses Aliet Alier, a successful international model. Constant travel, the sting of rejection after countless castings, and gruelling schedules all chip away at your mental well-being. It’s a pressure cooker environment, and research backs this up. Studies show how the relentless pursuit of perfection in creative fields can lead to anxiety, depression, and even burnout – not exactly the glamorous life we imagine.

“It’s like people think we’re robots,” says Erica Nlewedim, a popular actress and advocate for mental health in the industry. There’s a growing awareness of mental health issues, but real support is still scarce. “We get treated like we can’t be vulnerable or stressed… until something major breaks,” she continues. This lack of empathy leaves many creatives feeling isolated and struggling silently.

Adesola Adeyemi, a renowned model and mental health champion, echoes this concern. The industry often prioritizes results over people, neglecting the mental well-being of those driving its success. “Creatives are deep thinkers,” she explains, “we draw inspiration from looking inwards. But where’s the support system to help us navigate those depths in a healthy way?”

Society also often romanticizes the idea of the tormented artist, but this perception only perpetuates harmful stereotypes and prevents open conversations about mental health. – Angel Yinkore, Creative Professional

The importance of mental health in the creative industry

The world of creativity thrives on vulnerability—models expose themselves on runways, and writers bare their souls on the page. Yet, a critical piece is missing from the equation: support for their mental well-being.

Adesola Adeyemi, founder of “Styling the Mind,” sheds light on this paradox: “The creative industry celebrates achievements, but the mental health of those behind the success often goes overlooked.” This relentless pursuit of external validation can leave creatives, with their deep well of introspection, grappling with challenges like anxiety and depression in silence.

The pressure to conform to unrealistic beauty standards takes a particular toll on models. Erica Nlewedim, actress and reality star, emphasizes, “People think creatives are invincible. The truth is, we’re constantly battling self-doubt and the pressure to fit a specific mould.” This, coupled with issues of racism and sexism, creates a breeding ground for mental health struggles.

Initiatives like “Styling the Mind” are a beacon of hope. Imagine fashion events that not only showcase style but also prioritize mental wellness. Dedicated helplines and interventions can create a safety net for those struggling. Aliet Alier, a UK-based supermodel, highlights the importance of normalizing bad days within agencies and collaborating with therapists to create a support system.

There’s cautious optimism. Michelle Adepoju, founder of Kìléntár, acknowledges progress, “Awareness is growing, but the journey is far from over.” Educational programs tailored to the creative industry’s unique needs are crucial. Workshops and readily available support services can dismantle the stigma and create a culture that prioritizes mental well-being.

Bankole Williams speaking at Styling the Mind Nigeria
Bankole Williams speaking at Styling the Mind Nigeria

Bankole Williams, a UK-certified life coach, emphasizes the need for concrete action. “We need resources that address the specific challenges creatives face.” Employee assistance programs, access to counselling, and a focus on work-life balance are essential steps fashion brands can take.

The fashion industry thrives on innovation. Now, it’s time to champion a new kind of revolution—one that prioritizes the mental well-being of the creative minds who shape its future. By fostering open communication, dismantling inequalities, and offering targeted support, the industry can ensure that creativity flourishes alongside mental wellness.

Effective self-care practices for creatives

Being a creative professional is incredibly rewarding but can also be demanding. Tight deadlines, elusive inspiration, and the constant pressure to perform can leave you feeling depleted. Self-care is your secret weapon, a toolbox filled with strategies to navigate the creative journey with resilience.

  • Discover Your Recharge Ritual: We all unwind differently. Adesola Adeyemi finds physical activity to be a powerful tool. “I find that involving myself in some form of physical exercise helps distract my mind and release stress,” she says. “I practice Ashtanga yoga for a sense of calm or attend boxing or Krav Maga classes, which leave me feeling invigorated and empowered.” Experiment and find activities that centre and energize you.
  • Hit the Reset Button: A change of scenery can be incredibly restorative. Erica Nlewedim prioritizes travel as a way to decompress. “I love to travel,” she shares. “When I find myself getting overwhelmed, I travel to detox and experience a different atmosphere.” If travel isn’t an option, consider a spa day, a quiet evening dedicated to reading, or simply some well-deserved downtime. The key is to identify what replenishes your creative spirit.
  • Build Your Creative Tribe: No one thrives in isolation. Aliet Alier recommends setting boundaries to protect your energy and cultivating a network of supportive peers. “Setting clear and realistic boundaries for yourself and others can help protect your time, energy, and space from distractions,” she advises. Sharing the challenges and triumphs of a creative life with understanding friends can make a significant difference. Additionally, incorporating mindfulness practices like meditation and journaling can equip you to manage the emotional rollercoaster inherent to the creative process.
  • Work Strategically, Not Ceaselessly: Balance is the cornerstone of success, as Michelle Adepoju emphasizes. “Regular breaks, designated work hours, and avoiding overcommitment help prevent burnout,” she says. Remember, a creatively exhausted individual produces stagnant or uninspired work. Don’t forget to celebrate your achievements! Recognizing your accomplishments builds resilience and keeps you motivated on your creative path.

By incorporating these self-care strategies, you can tame the creative beast and thrive in your professional journey. Remember, a well-rested and balanced you is the best version of you, ready to tackle the world (or at least your next creative project) with renewed energy and a burning passion.

 It’s important to work against isolating myself, so I make an effort to take walks outdoors, treat myself to something enjoyable, or engage with a community of genuine individuals. Building a support network of like-minded individuals helps me feel connected and supported.
Adesola Adeyemi

Angel Yinkore (Therapist) speaking at Styling the Mind Nigeria

Resources and Support Networks

The creative world thrives on passionate individuals, but the pressure to constantly perform can take a toll. Adesola Adeyemi emphasizes the need for a safety net: “Access to trained professionals, counselling services, and peer support groups specifically designed for the challenges creatives face is crucial.”

Here’s how the industry can step up:

Financial Security, Diverse Representation, and Open Communication: Aliet Alier highlights the importance of timely payments for models. “Financial stress reduction can significantly improve mental well-being,” she says. Additionally, promoting inclusivity through diverse body types and maintaining open communication channels are essential for fostering a healthier environment.

Collaboration with Mental Health Professionals: Working with mental health experts is key. Aliet Alier suggests collaborating with therapists to provide guidance on managing stress and anxiety within the industry.

Education and Support Programs: Michelle Adepoju proposes a collaboration between activists and fashion stakeholders: “Developing educational programs and mental health initiatives tailored to the industry’s needs can create a supportive culture and encourage help-seeking behaviour.”

Prioritizing Employee Well-being: Bankole Williams emphasizes a proactive approach by fashion brands. “Prioritizing employee well-being through policies, resources, and a culture that normalizes talking about mental health is essential,” he explains. This can involve making therapy more accessible, creating peer support groups for open communication, and offering mental health education for employees.

By implementing these measures, the industry can build a robust support system for its creative minds. After all, a thriving creative force starts with individuals who feel supported and empowered to reach their full potential.

Adesola Adeyemi speaking at Styling the Mind Nigeria

The future of mental health in the creative industry

Nigeria’s creative scene pulsates with energy, a kaleidoscope of artistic expression. But even the most dazzling colours need a strong foundation. Adesola Adeyemi, founder of “Styling the Mind,” lays out a vision for a future where well-being is woven into the very fabric of creativity: “Imagine a world where our creative community thrives in a culture of compassion and mental well-being. Initiatives like ‘Styling the Mind’ pave the way for mental health awareness campaigns, accessible support services, and supportive environments – because a healthy creative mind is a powerful force!”

  • From Backstage Bickering to Supportive Synergy: Gone are the days of throwing shade, as Erica Nlewedim puts it. “The competitive spirit is important, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of our well-being,” she says. “I dream of a future where the creative community is a true family, lifting each other up through thick and thin. Sharing struggles, celebrating successes – that’s the kind of environment that fosters not just great art, but genuine human connection.”
  • Beyond the Runway: Aliet Alier envisions a future where mental health isn’t a secret whispered backstage. “Think joint campaigns between creatives and mental health professionals, inclusive events that prioritize open conversations, and even weaving mental health education into fashion initiatives. By destigmatizing seeking help, we can create a culture where mental well-being is celebrated, not shunned. Imagine a fashion show where self-care is as important as the latest trends – that’s the kind of future I want to see.”
  • Open Dialogue, Open Hearts: Michelle Adepoju echoes the call for open communication: “A future where mental health is openly discussed and supported within our creative community – that’s what I strive for. Imagine a world where prioritizing mental well-being is not a weakness but a badge of honor for a thriving creative spirit. Artists shouldn’t have to suffer in silence. By fostering open dialogue and chipping away at the stigma surrounding mental health, we can create a space where vulnerability is seen as strength, and seeking help is the first step towards a flourishing creative journey.”
  • Empowerment Through Action: Bankole Williams emphasizes the power of action: “Let’s build a culture where compassion and support reign supreme. Fostering open dialogue, challenging stigma, and investing in resources – that’s the recipe for a future where creatives feel empowered to prioritize their well-being. Imagine workshops led by mental health professionals, readily available helplines, and fashion brands offering employee assistance programs. These are the building blocks of a mentally healthy creative ecosystem.”

By embracing these visions, the creative scene in Nigeria can transform into a haven for mental wellness. Imagine artists, designers, and visionaries not just surviving but thriving, with their minds as vibrant and beautiful as the art they create. With “Styling the Mind” leading the way, a future filled with creative expression and mental well-being is closer than ever. This collaborative effort, with creatives, mental health professionals, and the industry working together, can ensure that Nigeria’s creative spirit flourishes not just for a season, but for generations to come.

That’s the future initiatives like “Styling the Mind” are working towards. By providing access to mental health professionals, support groups designed for creative challenges, and even mental health benefits like therapy sessions, creatives can finally prioritize their well-being without fear of judgment.
Adesola Adeyemi

“Styling the Mind” is more than just an event; it is a movement aimed at revolutionizing the way mental health is perceived and supported in the Nigerian creative industry. By bringing together influential figures, this initiative paves the way for a future where mental health is prioritized and creatives are empowered to thrive both personally and professionally.


  • Coco Anetor-Sokei

    Meet Coco, the delightful and eccentric Content Editor at Marie Claire Nigeria. With a passion for mindful living and ample sleep, she's been weaving words since 2015. As a devoted mother, Coco cherishes moments with her inquisitive, spirited daughter, exploring the world to find deeper meaning in life.

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