Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a prominent Nigerian author whose works have been translated into over thirty different languages and has appeared in various publications. Her notable works are, For Love of Biafra, Purple Hibiscus, Americanah, and Half of a Yellow Sun.
Chimamanda is known to have a unique fashion style and a strong advocate of wearing ‘what you like’ which was inspired from how her mother used to dress her up as a child. Chimamanda wears only Nigerian made clothes and she has been asked to talk about her choice of clothing on so many occasions. In a piece titled My Fashion Nationalism published on The Financial Times, she talked about how her mother used to dress and how she would dress her up, a style she chose to stick with.
“My mother always dressed us well. Me in little girl dresses cinched at the waist, my brothers in suits and well-ironed shirts. To go out, she said, we had to “di ka mmadu”, which translates literally to “look like a person”.
In another of her pieces published on Elle, she talked about the clothing she loves and how much she cares about clothes. She said, “I no longer pretend not to care about clothes. Because I do care. I love embroidery and texture. I love lace and full skirts and cinched waists. I love black, and I love colour. I love heels, and I love flats. I love exquisite detailing. I love shorts and long maxi dresses and feminine jackets with puffy sleeves. I love coloured trousers. I love shopping. I love my two wonderful tailors in Nigeria, who often give me suggestions and with whom I exchange sketches. I admire well-dressed women and often make a point to tell them so. Just because. I dress now thinking of what I like, what I think fits and flatters, what puts me in a good mood”.
She added that, “My greatest gripe was with the word “modest”, used to describe clothes for what they were not — short or body-baring — rather than for what they were. “Modest” brought a moral, frumpy taint to what was often an aesthetic choice. I loved midi lengths because I found them sexy, sleeves because they were more flattering, higher necklines for their air of confident chic.
She also talked about how she began to resist some standard ideas and narrowly western fashion. She said: “I began to resist some standard ideas and language of global — which is to say narrowly western — fashion. The depiction of bright colours as bold or daring, black as the unimpeachable hallmark of sophistication, and beige as neutral, for example, were based on a specific pale-skinned standard. For a dark-skinned person, blue might be a better black, brighter colours more ordinary than daring, and neutral negotiable”.
Chimamanda has a very unique style and she has become a fashion icon. She believes her chosen style is wearing what she likes and looking ‘like a person’ as her mother would say. One of her propelling forces is her desire to also promote the Nigerian fashion brand globally.