Bullying is a serious problem nation-wide. Children are bullied for a variety of reasons that range from their height, to skin color, to medical conditions, and weight−whether they are too skinny or too fat, there is always a problem. Egypt “Ify” Ufele is no stranger to being teased, especially about her weight. Yet, instead of letting it keep her down, she let the experience fuel her right into the limelight at New York’s Fashion Week last spring as a featured designer, with a line created for people of all shapes and sizes.
“My mom always told me to turn a negative into a positive—that’s why I started ChubbiLine,” explains Egypt “Ify” Ufele to Teen Vogue during her 21 under 21 interview. “I was verbally and physically bullied and knew that being creative was my comfort zone, so I used it to my advantage.”
Learning to sew at age 3, Ify began making dresses and skirts for her dolls. By age 9, she was creating clothing for family members. “I was making them things like dresses and pants,” Ify remembers. “But when I couldn’t find clothes that were my size in stores I started making things for myself as well. I really like the fashion of the 60’s, so a lot of my clothes are inspired by that. I like the flared sleeves and A-line skirts from that era.”
In addition to the 60’s flare, Ify also incorporates her African heritage into her designs. “My father is Nigerian, so it’s important to me to show my heritage in my clothing,” explains Ify. “There are different patterns that represent different tribes. We’re from the Igbo tribe, so I use mostly those.”
Even though Ify is only eleven-years-old, she can put on her resume that when she was 10, she had the opportunity to show her line during one of the most coveted fashion experiences of the season—New York Fashion Week, and it was a resounding success! “There were a lot of people there at my show!” she remembers. “When it ended and I stepped onto the runway they were like, ‘A kid made that?’ They were very impressed!”
What’s next for Ify? “My goal as a designer is to dress Sasha and Malia Obama one day — I love their style,” she comments to Teen Vogue. “But when I grow up, I want to be an architectural engineer. I’m looking forward to that.”