At age 11, Egypt “Ify” Ufele of Queens, NY is a successful fashion designer who was featured at New York Fashion Week in February of 2016. In August of 2016, Teen Vogue released its first ever “21 under 21” list, and Egypt Ufele was included. What’s more, she’s a bullying survivor and anti-bullying advocate. She was also kind enough to answer a few questions for us at Obvi, We’re The Ladies.
Ufele was verbally and physically bullied but responded by working on her grandmother’s sewing machine and exploring her creativity. She decided to shine in the face of cruelty and is now an inspiration to many kids, adults, and contemporary fashion designers.
Having been both a student and a teacher, I know how powerful and serious bullying can be. For a young individual to believe in herself after being mistreated, and to do so creatively is heart lifting. Ufele is a great example of this kind of excellence. Her clothing line ChubiiLine runs with the motto “Bringing Africa to America, one design at a time,” and offers colorful prints to curvy customers.
Ufele shared this quote on her inspiration with Refinery29:
“I wanted to relieve my pain [from] bullying…ChubiiLine was designed to empower everyone that [has been] bullied.”
With the introduction of her stylish, all-sizes line, she was the youngest person to debut a fashion line at NY fashion Week.
I asked Ufele what she has learned about the world of fashion so far. Her response shows her support of beautiful people of all sizes:
“The Fashion Industry has a long way to go for the Curvy Population. Everybody is not a size zero & designers should be more flexible.”
On her Instagram account, titled “Bullychasers,” she says to bullies: “I am 10 years old, making power moves while you talk.”
Her ability to self-validate is awesome, especially because she’s still so young. Ufele credits and thanks her mother, Dr. Reba Perry and her grandmother, Nellie Rembert (who is a seamstress) for their support. Ufele’s older sister, Sade Perry, is also a fashion designer with MisPerri Fashions. Ufele is pictured with her mother below.
I also asked Ufele what she has learned about herself during her successful work in fashion so far. Here’s what she said:
“I have learned that failing in life is not a mistake, but a lesson to improve your skills. I always knew I could be an achiever, but never a role model for adults and kids.”
Ufele also told us about her hopes for the future:
“As I develop my craft in designing, I will one day become an Architectural Engineer. The future is bright because I will have plenty of knowledge to continue to be a CEO of several successful companies.”
It’s great to hear about this young woman turning the tables on unkindness. Through loving and validating herself and relying on trustworthy supporters, she leads the way in contemporary fashion. Ufele has been interviewed on NBC and many other outlets and in March of 2016 she participated in a Women in Public Life Conference with the Center for Media & Peace Initiatives. She participated in Small Boutique Fashion Week 2016 and also in 2016 (on September 25) she will participate in the World Fashion Parade in New York, a “Fashion for Peace” responsible fashion runway show.