‘Black Panther’ Boosts Sales At Dorchester Clothing Store

BOSTON (CBS) – A box office hit has turned into a business boost for a Dorchester shop owner.

“Black Panther” is shattering records and has ignited a movement. And now it’s having an unexpected impact on businesses that sell African style clothing.

The sewing machine is humming at Elegance African Fashions in Grove Hall. The first thing that hits you when you walk in is the color vibrancy all around the tiny shop. African print fabric stacked to the ceiling, hand crafted jewelry and African styles jammed into every corner.

Ebby Ihionu at Elegance African Fashion (WBZ-TV)

“I deal mostly with African prints; we have different ones. We serve both Africans and non-Africans,” says owner Ebby Ihionu.

She opened about 11 years ago. And now with the cultural powerhouse of the “Black Panther” movie, business is, well: “Super good!” Ebby says.

The movie costumes, based on African culture, are inspiring people. “I was like, oh my God what is going on. Everybody wants to be in African attire. It’s across the board. It’s not just blacks,” Ebby says.

Some people are dressing up to go to the movie, and more “Some are coming for ‘Black Panther’, some for church events, some are wedding, so many things. And some are just for…. they want to look African,” she says.

Ebby Ihionu (WBZ-TV)

“It’s a movie for all ages to go and watch. You learn from it. Not only the fashion, it has all that culture, the history. It teaches you about your life,” says Chichi Nwaford who was shopping Thursday.

“Business is good, but I’m happy for the movie itself. The awareness. Like the wave it’s creating everywhere,” Ebby says.

The head costume designer for the “Black Panther” film says she drew from African tribes, art and culture to create the “look” of the movie. Her work is now shining a spotlight on African fashion.

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