Beyoncé is a visionary in the fashion world, with the 22-time Grammy winner sets trends by merely wearing whatever she wants. While she has an impressive wardrobe filled with designer pieces, the artist also shops in places her fans can afford. Beyoncé shops at Etsy, and the proof is in her new suit by designer Ena Udemba.
On Feb. 15, Beyoncé arrived at Swiss Beatz’s Dreamweavers exhibition at the UTA Artist Space in Beverly Hills in an eye-catching, ankara print suit on. The suit was tiled in red, olive, and mustard squares, and Bey wore the blazer sans top and belted it at the waist. The pièce de résistance of the outfit was the jaunty hat the artist wore on top of her curls, which was the size of a serving plate and tipped to the side. Beyoncé looked ready for a night spent in a gallery, musing over installations and discussing art theory.
But the suit didn't come straight off the runway, like most of her pieces. Instead, it came from an Etsy shop.
Beyoncé and her stylist Zerina Ackers reportedly shopped the vintage and handmade site together and handpicked Ena Udemba to design an outfit for the event. Udemba is the 34-year-old Nigerian designer who is the mastermind behind the label, Ena Gancio. The brand's pieces run between $105 to $295.
"Zerina’s attention was called to an outfit I had made which she liked," Udemba shares with Bustle. Designing for the Grammy winner was an indescribable feeling.
"The creation had to be unique, something for her alone. The biggest queen on earth! I felt responsible," she explains. "I just had to make some modifications for it to be unique for Queen B! I felt anxious and at the same time determined to be successful."
Udemba, whose store is based in Houston, Texas and has been on Etsy since 2016, creates African print inspired clothing on the platform. Her pieces run the gamut from backless summer dresses to double breasted suit dresses to tailored tuxedo suits.
According to Vogue, preparations for the outfit began in late 2018, when Ackers contacted Udemba with the proposition to design Beyoncé's look for the exhibition. The outfit consists of four pieces and it took 36 hours to make. Udemba considered every detail when creating the suit, and each design choice had a specific job.
Vogue explained that the hat was deliberately exaggerated to take center stage of the look, while the sides of the jacket flared out in order to accentuate the female form. Wide-leg pants were specifically chosen to elongate the leg, and the belt at the waist tied the look together.
Beyoncé is committed in using her platform to spotlight African designers, and has worn many different African labels over the previous months. In December 2018, when Beyoncé and Jay-Z performed at the Global Citizen Festival in Johannesburg, the artist mostly wore African designers on stage and donned their labels during her off-duty time. After the weekend, Beyoncé went on her Instagram to give those designers a shout out for their quality work.
"Thank you to the talented African designers who kept me feeling fresh. Y’all go so hard," the Grammy winner captioned.
In the summer of 2018, while on vacation with her family in Italy, Beyoncé posted an outfit she got from Tongoro, designer Sarah Diouf’s range of elegant separates. In the photo she wore a patterned jumpsuit and silk tunic, introducing the label to her millions of followers.
From ankara print suits to silk tunics, Beyoncé is introducing the world to a slew of talented, young designers that deserve the recognition. It will be interesting to see how Ena Udemba's business — and Etsy store — grows after this moment in the spotlight.