If you are one of those people who follows me on social media, reads my articles, or watches my films, but don’t know why I do what I do, this article is for you. The nature of the work I do is often times sporadic, mostly because I’m a creative person and the ideas I get are often times spontaneous and unresolved. The projects I share with you are the results of a creative process that to me is driven by the founding principal for ZULUECHO Lifestyle Initiative. I hope this article can clarify some of those questions, and perhaps help shed some light on things that others might be wondering with regards to starting their own “project.”
I’ll start by saying this – if you asked me three years ago what ZULUECHO Initiative would become, the answer would not have been, “A clothing Brand”, “A Film Series”, or “A weekly article.” The movement has changed with me as I’ve grown through my experiences, and I keep my early articles on my website to remind me of where I started. Thus, the type of content is constantly changing, constantly adapting, and ultimately finds new ways to radiate the loud message of the founding purpose of ZULUECHO Initiative…
“Believe in the power of your Dream”
So where did I come up with this mission, and why did I start it? Well, the answer to that question takes me back to middle school. The first moments in my life that I can remember the growing desire to one day become an Architect. Anyone who knew me back then will remember that I always wanted it. At the time, it was this distant target. This blurry goal that I was moving towards, but at that time it was only a vision. As I continued my schooling and graduated High School, I found myself accepting an offer to Syracuse University’s School of Architecture. It was surreal… Something I’d always wanted and had worked for, had come to fruition. While my first semester of Architecture school was among the most challenging periods of my life, I found myself inspired by the reality that I was working long hours, doing something I’d always dreamed of doing. That blurry vision was not so blurry anymore, and for the first time in my life I felt myself seeing clearly.
While this was my personal experience of that time period, my peers, both in architecture school and outside, had also come to a point of their lives where their passions and their interests became their priorities. Suddenly, we were all working towards attaining something we wanted to attain. The realization of this reality sparked something in me. I became increasingly mesmerized by the age I found myself and my peers at, and realized that this was the time to become the people we’d always wanted to become. The dreams we had as kids growing up, to become doctors, pilots, astronauts, engineers, photographers, filmmakers, authors, business owners, models, athletes, musicians.. they were no longer so distant… they were right there in front of us. I wanted to share this excitement with the world. Both in regards to my work, but to also celebrate the work of those who had found a purpose and started pursuing their passions. I wanted to share the achievement of people who had taken a leap of faith and begun a journey through their lives dictated by something they were deeply invested in, not because it was prescribed to them, but because their happiness depended on it. I began the ZULUECHO Lifestyle Initiative as a place to explore this idea. A place to celebrate the passions we held so close to our hearts.
It also became apparent to me that your early college years are not easy. Dealing with independence and understanding your surroundings was challenging, not only to myself but to everyone around me. It was a time where “change” was the only guaranteed outcome to any situation. No matter how you did in school, what friends you made, what dorm you lived in…. the next four years of your life would change you, and I mean that in the best way possible! This change is challenging, and it’s not a change that we get taught in schools. It’s a change with such a magnitude that we often don’t even realize we are in the process of changing. Many people can get lost under all that pressure, and I found that finding your purpose and following your passion is related to finding healthy ways to deal with all that change. In the high paced, stress infused lives that we lead, it becomes easy to lose sight of who we want to be. We start to put our passions aside to make room for things society tells us we have to do. We give up on the things we love and let go of the ambitious nature that comes with being a dreamer. We settle for less than we deserve because we lose hope in the power of positivity. This reality bothered me – the notion that people were not enjoying who they were becoming was a reality I felt a deep desire to try and address. The power of following your heart and staying true to what you are passionate about is the key to success that we all forget.
ZULUECHO Lifestlye Initiative became a voice for my generation. A place where events we were all going through could be discussed, even if they were not mainstream. It became a voice to remind us that our passions in life matter, and that it’s okay to break the mold and think outside the box. It became a series of films that captured the beautiful moments shared by people who had found their calling, and had started their great life journeys. It became a place where we could talk about the challenges we face with respect to social media addiction, mental health and how to deal with the hard realities of failure. It became a place where anyone with a dream, could be reminded that that dream was worth something.
When you share an article, re-post a story, or wear the clothing brand, you are not just sharing my work. You are NOT just wearing my brand. You are sharing a belief in YOUR dream. You are sharing with the world a positive message that aims to uplift all of us to the best versions of ourselves that we can be – versions we are proud of because they are true to who we are, not who society wants us to be. By “repping ZULUECHO” you are sending a message to everyone that identifies with the challenges of “growing up” that they are not alone, and that collectively we can support one another to all become the people we set out to be when we were only kids.
If you asked me what ZULUECHO Initiative will become, I’d have to tell you to wait until my next project because even I don’t know. But if you asked me why ZULUECHO Initiative exists, I’d tell you that I believe in the power of positivity and growth, I believe in the power of kindness and community, and I believe in the power of our dreams… join me!