Bullied for her weight, 13-year-old Egypt Ify Ufele decided to focus on sewing. Today, she is one of the fashion designers known for plus-size outfits in the international fashion industry.
At age 3, Ify started making dresses for her dolls having learned how to sew from her grandmother. At age 5, she was proficient at using the sewing machine, and by the time she was 9, she was creating wearable pieces for her mom and sister.
From being called names, to having her lunch slapped out of her hands, and even stabbed with a pencil; Ify’s experience with bullying when she was in 5th grade made her find solace in sewing, which later birthed her clothing line, Chubii Line.
Unknowingly to her bullies, Ify’s weight stems from taking steroids for her severe asthma.
While she was having a hard time in school, her mother urged her to turn a negative into a positive; an advice that inspired her to create her clothing brand for people of all shapes and sizes. Ify’s designs are inspired by the fashion of the 60s. She likes the flared sleeves and A-line skirts from that era. The most notable signature of her brand is the African fabrics that are integrated into her line and serve as reverence to her cultural roots.
Her father, who is Nigerian, helps her to ship textiles to America when she needs them for new designs.
Her hard work started paying off when she was invited to show her clothing line during New York Fashion Week. She was only 10 at the time. She also made the Teen Vogue’s 21 Under 21 List, having been described as one of the girls changing the world.
Ify’s goal as a designer is to dress Sasha and Malia Obama. However, when she grows up, she wants to be an architectural engineer.
Ify is a United Nations Junior Ambassador of Peace and an anti-bullying activist. She started a non-profit ‘Bullychasers’ to create awareness to help other kids that are being bullied. Through sharing her bullying experience and how she overcame it, Ify’s mission is to empower girls and boys to build their confidence for themselves.