Fashionably Austin

Bernina Fashion Fund Showcase Kicks Off Runway Shows at Austin Fashion Week 

Bri Thomas for Fashionably Austin wrote a great recap blog post about the Bernina Fashion Fund Showcase and Shusi's win. Read the full blog post here

BERNINA has been a sponsor of the Fashion Fund for several seasons and in past years a winning designer was announced during a night of the runway shows. This year an entire night of 19 up-and-coming designers were featured sending a five-look collection and who all have brands that are three years old or less. And the BERNINA Fashion Fund Judge’s winner was…SHUSI!

Black Texas Magazine

Your Ultimate Guide to Austin Fashion Week 2018 

Kaitlin Blaylock for Black Texas Magazine wrote an article detailing the events during Austin Fashion Week and highlighted that Shusi was a competitor to watch during the Bernina Fashion Fund Showcase. Read the full article here

"For the first time, designers will compete live for the prize, with judges Amy Sherfinski, Director of Marketing BERNINA of America, Camille Styles, camillestyles.com Gail Chovan, Fashion Designer, Lance Avery Morgan, Publisher of The Society Diaries, Gunnar Deatherage, Fashion Designer, Korto Momolu, Fashion Designer, and Kaki Gaines, Luxury Manager of The RealReal. Korto will also be presenting a collection, alongside Samantha Plasencia and Adrienne Yunger. Competitors to watch include Shavanthe, Shusi, and Alexandra Lee Designs."

With Love, Thelms

 Spotlight - SHUSI by Toyosi Shusi

SHUSI was highlighted by fashion and lifestyle blog, With Love, Thelms

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Today, I wanted to jump straight into some fashion talk, and put the spotlight on an up and coming designer who’s ready to wear designs have swept me away.

As you babes know, I am Nigerian and throwing on my native prints (also known as ankara) is something I do often when I want to add depth to my look. In addition to adding depth, I rock my ankara print to represent the culture I come from and share its significance to me with those I come in contact with.

It was obvi a no brainer then when I discovered Shusi by Toyosi Shusi, I had to snag something from her site. 

SO, keep reading for why I’m putting the spotlight on Shusi’s designs.

Getting ready to wear ankara garments made in the US can be a bit challenging. There’s all these avenues you have to go through such as:

finding the fabric

coming up with your design or how you want the fabric to turn out

locating a tailor or seamstress that won’t charge you an arm and a leg

getting measured to ensure the clothing fits appropriately

and even more hoopla that y’all are not ready for me to get into…

Needless to say, getting clothing made in that manor is a long process only reserved for special occasions.

All the more reason I am digging Shusi by Toyosi Shusi. Her clothing is:

easy to incorporate into your own wardrobe

meets my criteria for all my clothing: minimalistic, feminine, and comfy

allows me to showcase my culture without paying said arm and leg

someone else is doing the hard work, lol

and the clothing is overall cute af,

I can’t tell y’all how many compliments I’ve received on this skirt already since making it part of my wardrobe a couple weeks back.

The Daily Texan

UT-Austin alumna explores African heritage with clothing line

Shusi's creator, Toyosi, recently sat down with Daily Texan Reporter, Katie Balevic, to share her thoughts on how she hopes to dispel the ignorance towards the African continent by highlighting the beauty and culture of Africa through fashion.


Instead of working in oil and gas, chemical engineering graduate Toyosi Shusi is debuting her own fashion line exclusively using fabrics imported from Africa.

“I’m striving to make it more accessible to use these African prints to express yourself in everyday life,” Shusi said.

Shusi, who has always had an interest in fashion, said it wasn’t until college that she realized how she could combine sewing with her Nigerian heritage. 

“When I was growing up … I thought these were pretty prints, but then I learned where they came from and what they actually mean,” Shusi said. “I thought it was unique and a good way to hold onto my culture and my heritage.”

Shusi said her family members in Nigeria ship her the fabrics that she uses to make her clothes. In the future, Shusi said she hopes to have all of her production take place in Nigeria.  

“I want to start an atelier, which is like a fashion workshop in Nigeria, so that my clothes will actually be made in Nigeria by local Nigerians,” Shusi said.

To Shusi’s close friends, her dedication to making clothes exemplifies her passion. 

“Toyosi wants her name and her clothing out there,” chemical engineering senior Monica Ogbonnaya said. “She’s thinking so much more about impact than profit.”

Ogbonnaya said Shusi initially didn’t realize people would pay for her designs, and when she did, she undercharged.

“Her prices are so low, and she’s putting in all this labor,” Ogbonnaya said. “You can tell she’s just really passionate about it.” 

Shusi’s professors say her work has always stood out.

“I’ve had students that were very influenced by their heritage, but Toyosi is the first one that has really embraced African fabrics,” said Gail Chovan, a textiles and apparel lecturer.

Exposure to new cultures is critical to learning about different groups of people, Shusi said. 

“I want everyone to be exposed to (African prints),” Shusi said. “If you allow people to actually learn about it, then that’s how we can get rid of all of these wrong stereotypes that exist.”

Shusi said anyone can wear African prints as long as they are knowledgeable about their meaning.   

“There’s a difference between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation,” Shusi said. “By incorporating different designs and elements from different African countries, I can allow people to be exposed to that and teach them about the culture and beauty that’s there.”

Huffington Post

10 Businesses to #BuyFromImmigrants While Holiday Shopping

Shusi was featured in a Huffington Post article this holiday season in support of immigrant businesses. Check out the article here to see Shusi's feature as well as the other 9 shops that were featured.

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i-D Magazine

Shusi @ Afropunk Atlanta

Peyton Fulford for i-D magazine photographed the best and baddest looks at Afropunk Atlanta including our client wearing the Signature Tube Top from the SS18 collection. Read the full article here.

Afro: as in, born of African spirit and heritage; see also black (not always), see also rhythm and color, see also other, see also underdog.  Punk: as in, rebel, opposing the simple route, imbued with a DIY ethic, looking forward with simplicity, rawness and open curiosity; see also other, see also underdog.  AFROPUNK is defining culture by the collective creative actions of the individual and the group. It is a safe place, a blank space to freak out in, to construct a new reality, to live your life as you see fit, while making sense of the world around you.

Afro: as in, born of African spirit and heritage; see also black (not always), see also rhythm and color, see also other, see also underdog.

Punk: as in, rebel, opposing the simple route, imbued with a DIY ethic, looking forward with simplicity, rawness and open curiosity; see also other, see also underdog.

AFROPUNK is defining culture by the collective creative actions of the individual and the group. It is a safe place, a blank space to freak out in, to construct a new reality, to live your life as you see fit, while making sense of the world around you.

Tiny Triumphs

Stitch by Stitch

From Madison Ermenio's Blog "Tiny Triumphs"

“Toyosi, what are you doing honey?” her mom called out to her.

No response.

8-year-old Toyosi Shusi sits cross-legged on the living room floor, her mouth wide open and the white glow of the TV reflecting on her tiny face. She’s mesmerized as the models strut down the runway, sporting the designer’s newly created outfits.

At that moment, she was hooked. Toyosi fell in love with fashion. She watched Project Runway with her family, and she admired Raven’s character on That’s So Raven. She loved that they were putting all of themselves into their very own unique creation.

Since that time she has been dreaming of fashion, but she never pursued it. As a college student, she has largely focused on her studies – Chemical Engineering – and extracurriculars. Like so many of us, her bucket list item – learning to sew –  sat on the back burner.

She decided she was going to change that in the summer of 2015. She took out the sewing machine that had been collecting dust in her closet for six months, and she wasted no time. She got right to teaching herself – she watched YouTube videos constantly and dedicated herself to the art of creating clothing.

When she first began to learn, the clothing she made was basic, and it took her painstakingly long amounts of time to finish the articles. Nevertheless, when she was finished with an item, she couldn’t ignore the feeling it gave her – fulfillment and a sense of confidence.

Over the past two years, she has developed her skills greatly, even to the point of making outfits for not only herself but her friends. Her favorite memory was when she made matching outfits for her entire acapella group, Voices of Africa. They were competing in UT’s annual talent show called Texas Revue, and Toyosi wanted them to go all out. She used an African fabric called kente cloth that is traditionally worn by Ghanaian royalty, and she transformed it into something completely their own.

They were entirely invested in every aspect of the competition – both in their performance and in their appearance. On the night of the show, they won both the best act overall and the crowd favorite.

Toyosi said that now, creating clothing is a creative outlet for her and a form of self-care. She is currently in the process of starting her own clothing line, Shusi, so she can share her designs with others.

“If there’s a skill you want to learn, a language you want to speak, or a passion you want to pursue don’t second guess yourself just start by starting! You’ll be amazed by what you can achieve.”

 

Voices of Africa before their award-winning performance at Texas Revue, UT's largest talent show

Voices of Africa before their award-winning performance at Texas Revue, UT's largest talent show

Watch their performance here!

The University Of Texas at Austin- ASO/Voice of Africa