VMEN: Oluwole Olosunde
Meet The Nurse Changing Fashion
Designer, stylist, and registered nurse Oluwole Olosunde gives the term “side hustle” a whole new meaning. Born in Brooklyn to Nigerian immigrants, Olosunde’s childhood was defined by education. “We lived in a community that had many Nigerian-American children,” Olosunde says. “My parents were immigrants [and] they upheld education.” With both parents involved in healthcare—his mother is a nurse and his father works in medicinal IT—Olosunde became interested in science and attended vocational programs across the city. “Science stood out because it is universal,” he notes. “Everybody is human and we all have the same bones.”
As Olosunde’s parents prioritized education, the young multi-hyphenate embraced New York’s burgeoning streetwear and arts scene amidst his studies. “I went to Billionaire Boys Club, Supreme, and Bape, because Pharrell [Williams], Wale, [and] Kanye [West] were inspirations. These multifaceted people showing intelligence through art made me connect with their stories.” As a teenager, Olosunde fast-tracked his education by skipping two grades and ultimately obtained a Bachelor’s degree in nursing.
After two years at a bustling New York hospital, the pandemic overwhelmed the city’s healthcare system and altered Olosunde’s approach to science and design. Treating ailing patients, analyzing ever-changing data, and contracting COVID-19 himself made Olosunde realize the demographic disparities in New York, mainly healthcare access in lowincome communities. “I’ve slowed down from being burnt out. I was working a lot more, but then I got COVID [and] it was a reality check.” says Olosunde. While working long hours, the creative was steadfast in pursuing his label “Against Medical Advice,” or as he hyphens, AMA. “To leave the hospital against medical advice is to choose your prerogative over what advice is proven clinically,” the designer explains. “I chose that as the name because of the irony of being a designer and a nurse and living in these two opposite worlds.” From anatomy-inspired motifs to vibrant knitwear pieces that demand attention, AMA is pushing the boundaries of what a fashion label can be—by merging public health awareness with of-the-moment ready-to-wear, Oluwole is carving a unique, and unexplored, niche. The brand’s first collection, “Mitosis,” toys with Olosunde’s medicinal fascination, offering a mix of vibrant separates and graphic motifs that mirror scientific phenomena. For the designer, the collection holds a personal sentiment. “[Mitosis] feels like my child,” Olosunde says. “I was splitting and forming this new cell [and] new life as a designer.”
Looking to the future, Olosunde plans to focus solely on AMA, but with his medical expertise leading the way. “I want to hold onto the humanitarian aspects of being a nurse, that’s why I even made Against Medical Advice. With the designs in my mind, it’s so much bigger. I want to do food programs [and] design from a public health standpoint.”