'Black Panther' Boosts Sales of Traditional African Attire - NECN


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'Black Panther' Boosts Sales of Traditional African Attire



    'Black Panther' Sparks Clothes-Buying Frenzy

    A spike in purchases of traditional African attire followed the release of "Black Panther."

    (Published Friday, Feb. 23, 2018)

    There has been major boom in business for Elegance African Fashions in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood.

    It's a store that Ebere Ihionu has run out of her basement for years. The major sales are due the new blockbuster hit "Black Panther," Marvel's first black superhero movie.

    "That movie is a godsend. I encourage everyone to go watch it," she said.

    Ihionu says she's been getting at least 15 to 20 orders a day, with people wanting to wear traditional African dress to the movie to show African pride.

    "They just want to look African, super African, to the movie," said Ihionu.

    She has all types of clothing, accessories and fabric, much of it handmade.

    Andrew William drove from Malden, Massachusetts, to pick out a black and gold dashiki.

    "Right here, I got a black and gold robe with some elephants on it," he said.

    But it's more than clothing to him.

    "Just representing where we come from as a whole," he said.

    Ihionu says she takes all orders, and she also sews from scratch. No custom orders are too difficult.

    "A guy came in and said, 'You know how I want to look?' And I said 'no.' He said, 'I want to look just like Eddie Murphy in 'Coming to America.'' I said, 'Sure, that's why we're here,'" she said, laughing.

    Ihionu takes orders both over the phone and online, and with the movie doing so well, she predicts she'll be doing so for some time.

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