Hi BellaStylistas! It’s Isoken and every month, I’ll be sharing a short letter spotlighting our monthly theme from my personal perspective and giving you an idea of some of the amazing content we have planned. For August, our theme is #PersonalStyle.

Editor-At-Large Isoken Ogiemwonyi introduces the BellaNaija Style’s #PersonalStyle theme for August.

Celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe famously said…Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak. And whilst I agree on a superficial level, we aren’t just what we wear or what we look like.  I’m a firm believer that what you say matters: whether it’s the written or spoken word. However, in an increasingly visual world (Hi Instagram!) how does your personal style influence how the world sees you? Does it matter? And more importantly, do you care?

Maybe you should,  70% of communication is nonverbal after all.

It’s well documented that social media and technology has disrupted and augmented several industries; and in luxury fashion, an industry notoriously wary of change (ironic with the fast pace of trends and style), the tectonic shift is very apparent. Instagram has become a primary source of inspiration and brand discovery. Influencers are now a core part of the marketing mix for fashion and beauty brands; this has in turn affected how the mainstream consumes and interprets trends on a global scale.

This month, we explore how social media and several other macro factors has affected what we generally see as personal style and originality. We will examine what personal style means to our editors, key fashion tastemakers and the designers who influence trends, as well as how to define YOUR personal style in 2018. The top-down, expert-led approach to fashion and what is considered stylish has changed considerably in the last decade, and has become more of a conversation. We think there has never been a richer, more diverse time for exploring and reinventing one’s style.

In my opinion, harnessing and clarifying your personal style is a key ingredient in ‘living your best life’. Defining your own visual language can only simplify your life.  A lot of us give up because sometimes it can be overwhelming, and the relentless pressure is exhausting, so reframing it is important. It is equally important that we equip all our BellaStylistas with all the hacks, tips and tricks you need to articulate what makes you you and communicate that to the world regardless of your mood or the situation.

We will analyse how to incorporate authenticity (high key starting to hate that word but that’s a story for another day), into your looks for work, play or holiday, highlight the style stars we think can re-ignite your passion and study some fail-safe ways to expand your style scope without stress.

Style has always been, and will continue to be important and influential in shaping human perception, whether we admit it to ourselves or not. It is an engine for growth and is a vital part in brand and career building today. Not only do we want to look stylish for special occasions but it is inextricably linked to what we buy, wear, experience how we live and it’s even more important in the digital age.

The shoes we wear to that wedding, the holiday destination and what we wear whilst there , the jewelry and the makeup we choose to wear , the food and drink brands we choose for our parties and get-togethers or the sofas in our living room — all play a role in how people look at us. Perception is reality, and good or bad, style has become the shortcut to communicating who we are to the world.

BN Style aims to help you navigate this new paradigm – with great writing, textured visuals and compelling photography. Style, meet substance.

And as always we will discuss the evolving narrative, what ‘African’ style means, what it is today, and what it could be.

Personal style doesn’t mean becoming the fashionista du jour or making every best dressed list. It’s distilling your essence into visual cues and mixing and matching it in a way that communicates who we are and what we want to say on any given day.

Perhaps this is what Ms Zoe meant.