Adichie officially asked us to care about what she wears and how she looks when she did the fashion manifesto bit in Elle Magazine and sent in her photos for consideration as Fashion Bombshell of the Day. I can’t say we were not a bit surprised by such a bold move. But the author of Americanah has done a fairly good job blending her high-profile literary status with an interest in fashion.
For fans dying to share Adichie’s fashion universe, Chimamanda Style Files is a gift. It’s a blog run by “her team” and features updates on Adichie’s style. Want to see what she looks like in an Alexander Mcqueen jacket at a New York City literary event? Curious about her team of Naija-based tailors? It’s all there.
But why should Adichie care that we care about her Jimmy Choo shoes or her Obalende tailor? Are we not supposed to love her simply for her books and her brain? Does it feel a little weird that Africa’s literary sweetheart is asking us to pay attention to her body?
It’s probably no news—I’ve commented on this issue several times before—but I think it is perfectly legitimate for African literary celebrities to open up about their lives. As an African literary blogger, I’m all for anything that gets fans and readers to connect with African literature. If Adichie’s Isi owu hairstyle makes her more approachable, gets you interested in her message, and possibly in her work, it’s a win-win situation.
Besides, don’t underestimate the value of a thriving fandom. Gone are the days of the solitary artist creating masterpieces in seclusion and living in disdain of the masses. These days, authors are starting to realize that having some level of notoriety helps. It helps with book sales, but it also helps with getting their message out there.
Adichie has an army of young readers. They love her work. They’re drawn to her feminist gospel, including the ideals and politics she’s mobilized around her image. Being open about her style is simply one more way of connecting with these fans.
At the end of the day, the truth is: after proving yourself as a brilliant novelist, there’s always a good bit of style and sexiness left over for flaunting. When you’re African and literary, nothing stops you from being glamorous.
Images via Chimamanda Style Files