The youngest person ever to debut a line at New York Fashion Week is 10-year-old Egypt (Ify) Ufele. Her grandmother taught her to sew when she was only 5, and she practiced by making clothes for her Barbie dolls. What is so fascinating about Ufele, however, is her motivation behind starting her own apparel line, called ChubiiLine -- fighting bullies!
Bullied, but not defeated:
Ufele was often teased in school because of her weight. The sad part of this is that her weight is due to a health condition, asthma, for which she has to take steroids; it is beyond her control. So she decided to turn that negativity into something positive by designing her own line of clothing for children, plus-size women, men and boys. She calls it "African Print with an Urban Twist.”
This young entrepreneur has the support of her mother, Dr. Reba Perry, and her father, Emeka Ufele. Her mother works for the UN and often takes Egypt with her on her trips to Africa where Egypt can pick out fabrics for her clothing line.
Her mother's background has proven very helpful, as Ufele states, “My mom, Dr. Reba Renee Perry, has a business management degree and owns a successful franchise business. I trust her because she will give the business 100 percent of her devotion.” In addition, her sister Sade is a fashion designer.
So what's next?
She has had a feature story by NBC and started a nonprofit called Bully Chasers. She is also working on a new book, and a manufacturing deal is in the works. Her goal is to make her business a household name. Why? She wants to help others like her who are bullied because of their weight, and let them know they can reach out to others for support and find creative ways to deal with the stress of bullying.
Oh, and by the way, Ufele is an A+ student in school!