Living a purposeful life

Founder of odAOMO and otolaryngologist Dr. Sophia Omoro presented a fashion show and a lecture in the “The Journey of Kenyan High Fashion Designer” event, which was part of the Black History Month celebration. Nikisun Shrestha/The Lion's Roar

As part of the Black History Month celebration, the department of languages and communication hosted “The Journey of Kenyan High Fashion Designer” by Dr. Sophia Omoro in the Student Union Ballroom A.

On Thursday, Feb. 22, the event started off with an odAOMO Fashion Show. The show featured freshman art major Yan Wu, senior communication major Cassandra Schwieber, sophomore criminal justice major Tori Rodrigues, junior communication major Amanda Kitch, senior psychology major Camille Gevis and alumni Chloé d’Aquin.

Quenton Alexander, former top 10 finalist on American Idol assisted during the fashion show. He also described the meaning behind the dress after the show.  

After the fashion show, founder of odAOMO, Dr. Sophia Omoro, who is an otolaryngologist told her story about coming from Kenya to America and trying to give back to the community.

“I am actually here to impart upon you a challenge of who are you and what you do,” said Omoro. “The clothing brand odAOMO is mine as in I design every single piece. Every single piece by hand made in Kenya by a team of artisans.”

French Instructor Aileen Mootoo-Robertson described the inspiration behind arranging the event.

“I love to expose different cultures, and knowing Dr. Sophia and what she has to offer, would be perfect to celebrate Black History Month,” said Mootoo-Robertson. “People have a lot of misconceptions of what a person from Africa might be like as it relates to who they are and fashion. So, I thought she would be a perfect candidate to come and enlighten us and the students.”

Omoro addressed the audience by talking about her roots and her early life. She explained how leaving Kenya helped her grow as a person.

“My grandmother was actually captured from a neighboring tribe and brought into my tribe when she was 15,” said Omoro. “At 15, I wasn’t captured by anyone, but I was given a scholarship to come and study in Canada. I left my home very young. That made me very strong. I had to fend for myself.”

A tragic death of a child in her village sparked the inspiration for Omoro to pursue being a doctor. The untimely death of her sister, Lily, led her to contemplate on the purpose behind her life, and it was the inspiration behind her fashion brand and foundation.

“We each have a purpose on Earth,” said Omoro. “Is it possible to live your life outside of your purpose? Aboslutely. Is it a better life, a more fulfilled life living a life that actually leaves a mark where you live your purpose? Absolutely. It’s a different echelon of living. One of my obligations for that gift of life is to live this life as best as I can today. I call that living widely. My fashion brand and foundation are part of me living widely.”

Mootoo-Robertson gave her thoughts on the result of the event.

“I think it went very well,” said Mootoo-Robertson. “What’s telling me it went really well is the reaction. A lot of emotions were displayed. If she touched someone’s heart, that’s what matters, and it looks as though she’s touched more than one heart. In that respect, I think that the event was a success.”

Omoro was also happy with the attendance of the event and was grateful with the audience’s reaction.

“I was very, very pleased with the number of people who came,” said Omoro. “I was very pleased that they gave me their attention. The feedback I got at the end let me know that I resonated with most people. So, it humbles me to speak like that.”