The Connect: Dashiki Pride
A Q&A with the designer brand on empowerment and finding yourself through clothing.
One of the most popular Halloween outfits originates from the ’70s, conceived with all the flavor from the black community. People unearth their Afros, dashikis, and bell-bottoms. However, for some this is not just a funky style, it’s a lifestyle. Recently we’ve observed the increase in consumption of black-owned products as well as products reflecting black pride.
A must-have brand in this market is Dashiki Pride. With unique designs and a clientele from Monica to Chris Brown, the brand has seen much success since their launch. The foremost motivating factor in their process proves to be leaving a legacy that empowers all those they touch. We caught up with the designers Marysonia Chizoba Ugokwe, Lilian Chioma Ugokwe, Mirian Chinyere Ugokwe, and President Vincent Ugokwe to learn a bit more about the family business at Dashiki Pride.
What is your company mission statement and how do you carry that throughout your creative process?
Dashiki Pride stands for unity and freedom, and we invite everyone from all culture and walks of life to share this emancipation through our clothes and product. We also hope to empower young entrepreneurs and women to pursue their dreams. Everyone should strive to take that giant leap of faith in starting a goal and seeing it through. You are never too young or too old to start up something big. When you are wearing a Dashiki Pride clothing, you stand out due to its unique designs. We can march and do other things, but there’s also power in standing out and catching someone’s eye.
Do you design the textiles as well?
We design some of them like the long-sleeve dashikis, the modern kente prints, but the original dashiki prints have been around for decades. We also make alterations like turning a shirt into a jacket or cardigan, among many more new styles. We use our modern vision to influence and restyle a lot of standard African clothing.
What sets your brand apart from other Dashiki designers?
We are not a brand, we are a lifestyle. We market our products in a more modern and chic way. We also have a dashiki day party that we started this summer. We had both Remy Ma and Wale perform at these events . All our guest were dressed in dashikis or African-inspired attire .
When you first started creating shirts was it difficult or easy to place your product on celebrities?
It was a little bit difficult at the start because no one knew us, but Blac Chyna was our first big break with her wearing our red long cardigan. TMZ and also E! carried pictures of her wearing our products on TV. Monica is also a big fan of our products .
Describe some of the feedback you have received from some of your celebrity clients.
Monica really loves the items and you can see pictures of her wearing several of our outfits on her IG. We love sending her products because she loves our message. Young Thug also loves the items and there is a video of him delivering his fiancé her birthday present wearing one of our hoodies. That was very cool! People all around the world also love the quality, authenticity, and affordable price of our products.
Do your consumers feel empowered when wearing your designs?
Yes they do, they feel connected to their lost roots. It helps them with their identity. Some people also use it as a way to say no to the normalized way of clothing. Our products are very unique, and lots of people identify with that.
Have you used any of the revenue to support Black Lives Matter?
We support their philanthropy as we too have started our own foundation called Dashiki Pride Charity Foundation, where we’ve helped out orphanages and people in need in Nigeria. We do have several charity organizations we are working with in the United States as well.
How important is it to you that the black community supports black-owned businesses?
It’s very important for black community to support their own because it creates more opportunity for more black businesses to emerge. When there is more business, more jobs are created.