What were you doing when you were 12? Egypt “Ify” Ufele, a remarkable 12-year-old from Queens, is CEO and designer of her own fashion line while tirelessly standing up against bullying. As if that weren’t impressive enough, she’s a Jr Ambassador of Peace for the United Nations and she teaches other kids how to follow in her footsteps and start their own businesses.
Ufele spent much of her childhood in hospitals due to severe asthma and takes steroids to control the condition. Because of her weight, she was mercilessly teased by classmates. At one point, she was even stabbed with a pencil. Young Ify channeled her pain and anger in sewing. Under the guidance of her seamstress grandmother, she began hand-sewing clothing and eventually graduated to working with a sewing machine.
Remarkably, this led to her debuting a fashion line at New York Fashion Week in 2016. Ify was 10 at the time, making her the youngest designer ever featured at the fashion event. From being bullied to reaching this huge accomplishment, Ify told the Today Show that she “turned negative attention into positive attention.”
One thing that makes Ify’s fashion stand out is her decision to embrace her African heritage. Ify’s mother, Dr. Reba Perry, works for the UN and often takes her daughter on trips with her to Africa. For the young fashion mogul, these trips are a chance to buy fabric and to soak in the vibrant cultures. The fabric and the bold colors and vivid patterns then make their way into the clothing she designs. She says her clothing is about “bringing Africa to America, one design at a time.”
Another thing that makes Ify’s fashion special is that she caters to all sizes but especially the sizes that are all too often ignored. The name of her fashion line is Chubiiline. She sells her plus-size clothing on her website and in select stores. Chubiiline t-shirts can be purchased at New York Apparel Company.
The young fashion mogul balances a lot. She’s a fifth-grader who is an A-student. She is continually designing new clothing and leading Chubiiline. She also runs Bully Chasers, an anti-bullying initiative. She’s a UN Jr Ambassador of Peace and a Jr Ambassador for Guns Down Life Up. Now, she’s even devoting herself to teaching other kids how to start their own businesses. In all of her spare time, she’s reportedly writing a book!
After being treated so cruelly, Egypt “Ify” Ufele has had the last laugh. She has seen many successes and has even starred in a Ford Explorer commercial. Considering how much the fashion queen has accomplished so far, we can’t wait to see what she does next!