Famed Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi always looks flawless. She’s rocked bold colors and bright floral prints while speaking about feminism in front of the world.
Now, Adichie is adding something new to her wardrobe: a promise to support Nigerian designers.
On Monday, Adichie vowed to do her best to wear only Nigerian brands for public appearances after launching her own “Wear Nigerian” project.
Adichie is a true global citizen, she splits her time between the US and Nigeria, and travels to teach and lecture around the world. But her ties to help Nigeria remain steadfast wherever she travels.
Adichie’s commitment to Nigerian brands stems from the Nigerian government’s “Buy Nigerian to Grow Naira” campaign to boost the country’s downtrodden economy.
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The Naira (₦) is Nigeria’s currency and it’s been in decline for years. Between 2015 and 2016 the currency lost 25% of its value.
Adichie said in a Facebook post Monday that she believes the government’s “disastrous economic policies,” not the Nigerian people, are to blame for the economic hardships the country has endured in recent years. These policies, she says, led to a “debilitating sense of uncertainty” among Nigerians.
“If we are to grasp for a silver lining, then the 'Buy Nigerian to Grow The Naira' rhetoric is one,” she said.
Her “Wear Nigerian” project also comes with a brand new Instagram account featuring stunning outfits crediting Nigerian designers.
Adichie is leaving the task of managing her fashionable Instagram account to her nieces, Chisom and Amaka, and they are doing a fantastic job.
“In the past few weeks, I’ve bought more Nigerian brands than I ever have in the past. I’ve discovered new names. I’ve been filled with admiration for the women and men running their businesses despite the many challenges they face. I'm particularly interested in 'inward-looking' brands, those for whom dressing Nigerian women is as important as other goals,” she said.
The World Bank ranks Nigeria as one of the hardest places to do business. High taxes, strained border trade, and lack of access to electricity are some of the factors the World Bank cites as roadblocks in growing Nigeria’s economy. Starting a business and getting credit are also challenges for Nigerians, according to the World Bank.
While Adichie’s call and support for Nigerian brands cannot fix business roadblocks right away, it is a huge step in the right direction to innovators a chance at success in a tough environment.
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She says that she has encountered some “dodgy zippers” but the choice to support local designers from her home country has been wonderful.
“Overall, I love the clothes, their cut, their whimsy, their color, their flair, their ability to make me feel like myself. Their makers, from designer to tailor to button-fixer to okada-delivery-person, deserve to be supported,” she said.