Nighisti's Fashion | News Feature | Indy Week
Pin It

Nighisti's Fashion 

2000 Chapel Hill Rd., Ste. 41, Durham

490-0598

Nighisti's Fashion Lakewood Shopping Center
2000 Chapel Hill Rd., Ste. 41, Durham
490-0598

"You see, my problem is that I like to redesign clothes," says Nighisti (pronounced: nig-guh-stee) Selby, seamstress extraordinaire. "I like to create. And another thing, I like the women to look absolutely perfect."

A long way from her native Eritrea (East Africa), Nighisti, who has been sewing since she was 14 years old, opened her shop in 1989. On this day, women traipse in and out of her dressing rooms in varying stages of "perfection," some almost naked but for mere undies. They call her "Nikki" and "a miracle worker" for her skill at reshaping clothing to make it fit their wide-ranging bodies. "Women, particularly now, in America, they have shape," she says. "And they make [the clothing] so shapeless and the cut so low that nobody can wear it. [Fabric] is my biggest problem--but really I don't have any problem because I feel like I can make it work."

She knows all her customers on a first name basis, and she tells them: "Let me just work with you and tell me what you want and we go from there."

Mauve: What do you like most about your job?

Nighisti: It's not even about sewing--it's almost spiritual to me. It's not that they have this dress and I fix it and that's it. I want them to feel the dress--how it works with their bodies ... so immediately, when a customer comes, [it's not just] what they're telling you, it's what they're not telling you.

How do you listen for what they're not telling you?

I'm very in tune with peoples' spirit. It sounds almost weird, but when they enter, I know exactly--I listen to them, their movement. You know in Africa, you don't verbalize everything, it's the body movement; so I watch their hands and all their expressions, then I know exactly what they're telling me.

Literally--it's so interesting--when I go outside the store, I am lost. But when I come in here I am so focused on what I need to do. I have to be honest with the customer, I have to love them in the sense that I have to give them more than sewing.

Does the Triangle suit you well?

Well, I could go other places, but I guess I'm very loyal. Money is good, you know, because you have to pay bills. But that's not really what gives me pleasure. It's not only clothes, because really, we need to serve the public: spiritually, emotionally and in different ways.

It seems that your customers feel very comfortable here.

Yeah, they think this is their home! In fact, they feel so good here, they dance sometimes because I have music here. When I get stressed out or something, I say, "come on, let's dance!" And then when we stop dancing, I say, "now I feel better--let's get back to work!"

So it's not really about making the clothes look better--if I hear you correctly--it's about making the customer look and feel better?

Absolutely. Absolutely. If I did not do that, then I would not be myself.

So if you had a store motto, what would it be?

Honesty and Integrity. Be honest to your customers, give them the best work you can, and have integrity in everything that you do.

More by olufunke moses

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in News Feature



Twitter Activity

Comments

It will continue to happen unless people start focusing on the root of the problem and not just the symptom. …

by Shekinah Santos on Race Riot (News Feature)

I think I see why solitary in U.S. prisons are even worse now than solitary in foreign countries. a) Solitary …

by John Wong on What life is like in solitary confinement at North Carolina's Central Prison (News Feature)

Most Recent Comments

It will continue to happen unless people start focusing on the root of the problem and not just the symptom. …

by Shekinah Santos on Race Riot (News Feature)

I think I see why solitary in U.S. prisons are even worse now than solitary in foreign countries. a) Solitary …

by John Wong on What life is like in solitary confinement at North Carolina's Central Prison (News Feature)

This person is not a hero. If she knows something about the event, she needs to testify.

by Karl Fetter on Prosecutors Want Katie Yow to Tell a Grand Jury What She Knows about the Firebombing of the Orange County GOP HQ. She’d Rather Go to Jail. (News Feature)

Awe full location. Put it at South Wilmington Street at I40. Walk able from downtown and easy access to I40 …

by arthurb3 on North Carolina FC Has Come a Long Way in Two Years. But Is Raleigh Ready to Be an MLS Town? (News Feature)

It would be great if every article on this subject didn't attack Hurricanes attendance. Ten years of no playoffs would …

by JohnNC on North Carolina FC Has Come a Long Way in Two Years. But Is Raleigh Ready to Be an MLS Town? (News Feature)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation