African Doll Clothes by Donnilah

What inspired you to create dolls with African clothing? My original inspiration came from an African woman who requested me to make dolls that reflected the ladies in her African wedding. I am always up for the challenge. I studied the pictures and found the fabric… I’t all started coming together.

How did you learn to sew/create African styled clothing? My father taught me how to sew. His mother (my grandmother) taught him and all of her 10 children how to sew. I am grateful to have a skill that has been passed down through generations. The concept of African/Ethnic styles comes from watching the top designers who have adopted the styles of Ancent African clothing, geometric designs and patterns. We are so diverse in style and flare. We are the originators of fashion. I am still studying and interpreting style and fashions on a global scale.

How has the response been to your doll creations? The responses have been awesome. I have customers of all ethnic backgrounds who enjoy the dolls and the beauty they represent. I am really encouraging people to collect them and enjoy their back story. I want to teach the children about fashions from around the world. These dolls create awareness and appreciation of global beauty, not just African beauty. African people are all over the world because we all from Africa.

What is your goal with bringing these dolls to our community? I am hoping my art and stories will educate little girls. We also need to teach our children its ok to be, look, like who you are. God made no mistakes in creating us it’s a blessing we are so diverse and we come in so many beautiful shades and colors. I also hope we learn to leave a legacy as my grandmother and father has left with me. In every doll that I make I leave that legacy the spirit my grandmother's art and fashion lives on.

How can people see more of your work and how can they contact you? I can be reached at: I am opening up an online boutique soon Annie Bella's boutique, named after my grandmother Mrs. Annie Bell McClendon.