ESPRIT, PURPOSE & FREEDOM
I’m a big believer of signs, especially when it comes to personal reflection. I think that many things happen to keep us introspecting ourselves, I believe, as if we were meant to constantly reflect on ourselves, to better ourselves. It might sound cheesy, but that’d only be because of the way I put it, because when you think about it, isn’t it what we’re meant to thrive for? Become better?
I consider myself my own homework, and I used to struggle with it, but now I love it. I’m in no way perfect or even that mentally stable to start with, but I decided a little while ago to be my own huge project, and like with any project, you have these amazing highs, but some lows might sting a little harder and a little longer. But then Esprit calls to ask me to take part in a powerful project (an d you can become the face of their new campaign, more details at the end of the article) and that’s another sign. Over the last three seasons, Esprit has powerfully articulated its brand purpose of “Live Unbounded by the Rules of Fashion” via the #ImPerfect campaigns and has sparked a cultural conversation that shook the perceptions of fashion. This year their goal is diversity and self-determination, and they’ve asked me to join the conversation and share my personal statement.
The first one that comes to my mind and gets it excited is #ImFreedom. Without a doubt, and it’s a great opportunity to reflect on myself and my goals, at a time where to be honest, I’ve been quite overwhelmed with the pressure I put myself under.
From a fashion point of view, Freedom is always my favourite statement and so power suits have to be staples, from this mansy stripy number, to the chic white two-piece, I’m seen and undefined. But I also do bright colours, casual; the retro floral jacquard blazer and the cut out loafers are here to say there’s only one Freddie, but there are many of us, we’re loud and you can’t box us up.
But it’s funny that #ImFreedom is the first thing that comes to my mind, because I’ve been losing sight of this lately. I’ve started off 2017 with the decision to go BIG this year, or to go home. I was so excited; I’m turning 30 this year and I wanted this year to count. I’ve been moved by the fever of these global revolutions we’re fearlessly spreading, from Black Lives Matter that means an awful lot to me, to the Women’s March. I cried when we collected the Oscars this year, Viola Davis, Mahershala Ali, I cried again when Edward Enninful got appointed Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue. I see more and more amazing people like Reggie Yates, Michaela Coel, Clara Amfo on TV, on Netflix, and all of this made me want in. As a Woman, as a Black Woman, as Freddie, 2017 was going to be my year. This moment has come, you can witness more and more of us rising and growing, I don’t know about you but I’m hopping on the bandwagon! But Freddie style also means getting a bit too intense and burying myself under massive targets and pressure. I have nothing to complain about. Everything got and more and more exciting lately, we’re finally moving back to London next week so Tom, Hugo and I can be closer to friends and family, and I can give my career every chance, Big Hair No Care is about to get BIGGER and I was so happy and excited about everything that I didn’t notice how little I was listening to my body, who in fact, wasn’t happy and excited at all. First I was overtired, I would sleep for hours but I would never seemed to catch up, but now sleeping is a challenge in itself, I’m so stressed and anxious that I now have a stomach ulcer flaring up for the best part of the day.
I got randomly invited (no really I was super mega flattered because they said they had invited the 50 most thoughts provoking people they knew…) to this amazing yoga and meditation retreat the other weekend, again one of these signs I told you I really believe in, because it brought me my sight back. I had never been into yoga or exercise before, but what I didn’t know is how amazing it is to feel your body strength, to feel your spine harden and elongate. I realised that to be half the businesswoman and fashion content creator I set myself to be this year, I needed both my mind and body to feel strong. I used to really be into meditation and lost the habit when I moved to Geneva, but this retreat reminded me to set aside 2 moments a day to shut it down up there.
I can’t wait to be settled in our new life in London, to really work on a routine that’s going to help me reach my growth goals, and let go of the stress and the anxiety.
My purpose became clearer these last few days, and I’m going to share it with you in a form of a statement to join Esprit’s powerful conversation:
My purpose it to overcome myself. To seize this life I’ve been given, to use the capabilities I’ve been given to the maximum, to explore myself fully, to inspire women to rally together, to inspire young black women to shift expectations; we might not be expected to become much, but we’re humans, limitless.
This over introspective brain of mine that I’ve always seen as a burden, has a purpose too, and it’s to serve my growth and this journey towards self-becoming.
My purpose is also to love fully and fearlessly, to never stop giving to those who matter the most.
I’m going to grow Freddie Harrel, I want to document this journey, bring the voice out, speak it, hear it.
Big Hair No Care is going to be huge. I want to grow something for our community and want it to be as impeccable as it can be, because we deserve that the things that are only for us are done as well as anything mainstream.
I want to make it seem possible for every woman who started off insecure, who felt like they didn’t fit, who felt inferior, to reveal their inner crafter. Before I am black, before I am woman, I am Freddie and I want to explore what it means and bring its best out.
What about you? What’s your statement? I’m feeling so energised again and have so many exciting personal challenges for 2017, tell me what are your challenges and bold statements I want to hear them all! And if you share them with your photos, you could become the face of the Esprit campaign! Share your photos on Instagram tagging @esprit and using #ImEsprit + your own #Im statement (i.e: #ImFuture, #ImChange, #ImPassion, #ImLove, #ImCourage, etc.).
Lots of love,
Photos credit: Nicole Hertel
T-shirt dress | Esprit
Stripy blazer | Esprit
Stripy trousers | Esprit
White blazer | Esprit
White trousers | Esprit
Loafers | Esprit
Floral jacket | Esprit
Denim dress | Esprit