Queens youngest fashion star shines

By Tammy Scileppi

She designs her own clothing line, which debuted during New York Fashion Week, where 22 models rocked the runway wearing her free-flowing African-inspired creations.

Her unique Chubiiline collection has an urban twist and caters to adults and children of all ages and body types.

There’s no doubt that Egypt “Ify” Ufele, 10, of Laurelton is going places —and she won’t stop till she gets there.

But first, she has to finish fifth grade.

“My education is always No. 1,” she said. “I have an A-plus average. First, I do homework and then go straight into sewing for at least two hours daily.”

Ify may not spend her post-classroom time like most of her schoolmates, but she unfortunately faced an all-too-common problem during the day: Bullying.

Some of the tormenting reached the point of physical harm, including having her finger pulled out of its socket and being stabbed with a pencil, her mother, Reba Perry said.

“I had no idea that my daughter was being bullied in school,” Perry, who also serves as Ify’s manager, said. “When I found out, I immediately went to the principal.”

But Ify’s grandma, Nellie, a professional seamstress, knew what had been happening. Her granddaughter was bullied because of her size and her smarts. So, she came up with a plan that would help Ify deal with her emotional pain.

She taught her how to sew clothes for her dolls, and the little girl surprised everyone with her remarkable skill and talent.

Her mother, who is an educator, said she never knew she could sew, and was thrilled that her feisty child had found a positive outlet.

And because the family believed in forgiveness, Ify was able to move on and heal.

“I decided to ask the kids that bullied me to model for me — to empower them,” Ify said. “My grandma said negative energy is wasted energy and hurts people. Never fight fire with fire.”

Before long, the budding designer had put her doll duds aside.

She began cutting patterns and choosing fabrics for real people, girls and plus-size ladies. And Chubiiline was born.

As its popularity grew, Ify decided to revamp her collection to include a wide range of sizes, and got some help from her big sister Sade Perry, 19, who attends the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and has her own clothing line, Misperri Fashions.

“She showed me how to sketch and master my designing skills,” Ify said. “My mom bought a three-level home so me and my sister can have a private sewing room.”

On Feb. 12, New York Fashion Week’s only kid designer wowed the audience with her bold, colorful looks that were featured as part of the Small Boutique Fashion Week at the Holiday Inn in Midtown.

And Ify is the only kid to do two days during Atlantic City Fashion Week, which takes place this weekend.

“Behind the scenes is always hectic,” said Ify, who already has her own assistant and publicist. “Every model wants to talk to me because of my age and style.”

Now, Ify is getting excited about an upcoming event in the Caribbean.

“I was called to St. Thomas, Virgin Islands for their big Fashion Week in July,” she said. “The governor is giving me the key to their country as a Kid Ambassador of Peace.”

So, what does the future hold for the little fashionista from Queens?

“I am still a kid,” she said. “My passion is always fashion. I would love to study abroad or at F.I.T. one day in my future.”

According to mom, Ify will be attending Fashion Industries High School in a few years.

Her amazing attitude and determination helped her overcome difficult challenges.

“Ify turned a negative into a positive,” Perry said.

And now, the young superstar is encouraging her peers to do their best.

“I love empowering kids, and fashion is a way to make everyone feel good about themselves,” she said.

For more info on Ify’s clothing, visit her website at www.chubiiline.com.