Eighteen-year-old Makalaya Zanders, from Cleveland was told by a white teacher that her dress choice was not “prom material” and that it was “tacky,” according to US Magazine. The savvy dressing senior decided on a stunning African print formal dress. Taking inspiration from Nigerian model Jessica Chibueze, Zanders, and her BFF put a slightly different spin on the dress.
Expressing her desire to remain unique, Cleveland designer Indelible DC worked Zanders’ ideas into exactly what she wanted.
Zanders Made An Impression With Her Fashion Sense
She says she wanted to “stand out” from everyone else, and she did. She wasn’t up on the beautiful vibrant colors and prints that make African fabric a sought after item globally.
Using her privilege she stuck her nose into a conversation that didn’t concern her, Zanders took to Instagram where she posted,
“So being someone who loves our culture and African glamorous style, me and @indelible_dc [the dress’ designer] decided to take the Ankara dress and put a twist on it.”
The White Teacher Did Not Do Her Homework
The teacher who wanted to make her opinion known did so. She was clearly misinformed. Not only about the quality one finds in authentic, African fabric, but also about Zanders, whom the teacher underestimated, while overestimating the worthiness of her opinion.
Like Zanders, some like to stand out. Being told that your choice is “tacky” is condescending. African fabric is used for special occasions, including proms, and has been growing in popularity for wedding parties over the last 30 years.
Zanders shared with ABC News that the person who made the disparaging remark has since apologized.
Zanders has moved on from the incident and says she just wants to she empower other girls of color. With her Instagram pictures going viral and the media coverage, she was off to a running start, but her account is gone now.
Zanders plans to study fashion after high school. At 18, Zanders knows what she wants and in this case, she handled her business like the MVP she is. I’ll be looking for her name in the future fashion scene.
Featured Image: Screengrab Of Indelible_DC Instagram Post.