@Meetmakersofcolor is an online community that celebrates color and diversity in the maker community! If you aren’t following them, go ahead and do that now! They reached out to me and asked me the question “How has my heritage has influenced my maker journey??” I really had to reflect on that question and my journey thus far, before I could write an answer.
Sometimes when life is just happening you don’t realize the obstacles you overcame, or you don’t stop to congratulate yourself! I hope this brief summary gives you some insight into how my heritage has influenced me and my style!
I tried to write a response that would fit in an Instagram caption, that didn’t work.. So here we are. Lol! Before I get to answering that question, let me introduce myself. Hello, I’m Nichelle B, I’m from Maryland, a very short version is, I’m a maker, teacher, yogi, natural hair lover, sewing blogger and creative being.
For as long as I can remember I’ve been enamored with black people. I never wanted to be anything else. Growing up Diana Ross, Aaliyah, Domonique Dawse, my mom, and older sister were some of the women I admired most. Growing up they inspired me to pursue things like dance, gymnastics, piano, ballet and modeling. My mom swears this “creative bug” bit me when I was 10 and turned an old pair of jeans into a purse using needle, thread, and hot gluing on some rhinestones. lol I do remember that bag and as corny as it sounds, she may be right, because ever since then I’ve loved creating. As I got older I realized, I feel most alive I’m creating with my hands or moving my body.
I graduated from Clark Atlanta University and anyone else who has graduated from an HBCU knows that is the blackest edutainment experience you can get. College was a pivotal experience for me, educationally and personally. Being surrounded by so much culture, history, and friends who felt like family, gave me even more sense of pride for being black.
As it pertains to fashion and college, before attending I didn’t really think about things like the environmental impact of the garment industry, the things companies do to produce fashion FAST, or the lack of diversity among luxury fashion brands. It was all kind of disturbing to me, so during my junior year of college I started teaching myself how to sew. I got a job at a fabric store part time. I started going to the thrift store, revamping clothing, and slowly falling in love with sewing.
My love for my heritage definitely influences my style as a sewist. I use a lot of Ankara prints, make headwraps, and love vintage garments. I make it a priority to infuse my culture in my wardrobe and my handmade garments because I want people to know I’m proud of my roots!
In 2015 I started Blog.Nichelleb.com to share with the world everything I make. In 2016 started teaching at a local sewing studio.. The blog and teaching happened organically. I started the blog to inspire other people to learn how to sew and hopefully meet like-minded people. I never planned on teaching because being self-taught I struggled with self- doubt, but someone believed in my potential and here I am 3 years later, still growing and glowing with this teaching thing. Lol
Teaching sewing is my way to help be the change, give back to my community, and hopefully inspire them to keep pursuing creative arts.
My culture is a huge part of my makers journey because I realize how important it is for a little girl or even an adult to see someone who looks like them teaching in the sewing world. Diversity and representation matter as well as community and sisterhood.
One message I hope to convey to my blog readers and students is to be the change they wish to see in the world and to never give up on themselves, or their dream. Stop to congratulate yourself on your strength!
It takes courage to create.
Remember, it’s a slow process, but quitting wont speed it up.
Hold onto the vision, trust the process.