On my mission to support Black Owned businesses, I found this gem in Absecon, New Jersey - Wadiya Clothing. My intentions were to go in, browse around and pick a few things. Almost two hours later, I have to say I encountered an extraordinary woman and had an engaging conversation about entrepreneurship, fashion, faith, style, culture, colorism and modesty.
Meet Malikah Shakur, Owner of Wadiya Clothing.
Wadiya Clothing rests on a quiet back street with amble parking surrounded by a hair salon, a dry cleaner, and a few other small businesses less than 10 miles from Atlantic City's boardwalk and casinos.
What impressed me most about Wadiya Clothing is Malikah designed these items herself. As soon as she said each item in the store where her concepts, I pulled out my phone and started to film. Completely unprepared. No lighting. No mics. And no way was I going to leave without featuring her on my blog and introducing her to my followers.
Malikah explained to me how important it was to find the right manufacturer who will not only bring your designs to life, but will also deliver on time. We had an in-depth conversation about the quality of her garments. You will find linen, jersey, cotton, chiffon, pleated, with pockets, midi, maxi, and hi-lo styles... breathable fabrics that offer stretch without the "cling" of say, spandex, but also comfortable, classy and most important - modest.
Purchase a tunic or an abaya from Wadiya Clothing and you can see the stark contrast between Malikah's clothing line and the cheap fashions you get from these "boutiques" selling that crap from wholesale websites. Wadiya Clothing is not trunk show left overs or poorly constructed pieces from Alibaba or Aliexpress.
Malikah and I began to talk about culture appropriation and modesty. I have strong opinions about what a woman should wear, particularly is that woman is a mother. Cover yourself... But I was hesitant about purchasing the hijabs. I never want to offend someone's faith so I can be fashionable.
Malikah assured me I could wear them and I bought three of the jersey knit hijabs. They are only $8 a piece, again from her signature line. She hand picks the prints, fabrics and materials herself. The quality is undeniable. She could easily charge more for them.
I also purchased the stripped tunic, on sale $36. Again, in the jersey knit. I was addicted to the jersey knit items in the store. Soft is an understatement. And they are thick, weighty when you take them off of the rack. Pair with some tights and a scarf, maybe some riding boots and I am ready to step into the cooler temperatures that fall may bring.
As mentioned in the video above, Malikah also partners with other local Minority Owned Businesses and offers them space in her retail location where their items are also available for purchase. I quickly picked out a bracelet with the word AMAL inscribed on it. Amal means HOPE in Arabic. I will never be short on skin care after I purchased shea butter lotion from For my Ukhti Bath and Body; UKHTI means SISTER.
Malikah and I did talk about her marketing efforts for Wadiya Clothing. She expressed one particular challenge she faces; a large majority of advertising and promotional material available for her target audience are fair-skinned women. She wants people to know that Wadiya Clothing is for all women, regardless of skin color or body type. She has opted to seeks models that represent various types of modest women and photograph them herself.
Wadiya Clothing - Lookbook
Wadiya Clothing - Facebook
Wadiya Clothing - Facebook
I can't help but to speak highly of Malikah Shakur. and the simplicity of Wadiya Clothing. Creating your own clothing line, marketing, branding and promotion for a niche market that happens to be counter-cultural is no easy feet. But as most phenomenal women, Malikah is doing so - phenomenally.
Visit Wadiya Clothing at 126 New Jersey Ave. Absecon, NJ, (609) 816-0936.