African Utopian Boutique opens in Fairborn ‘to bring a level of diversity,’ owner says

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

African Utopian Boutique, a new store featuring handmade clothing from Ethiopia and Ghana, is now open in Fairborn.

After moving to Fairborn from Texas three years ago, owner Sylvia Chess said she noticed the city was growing but felt the downtown area was missing something special.

“The ultimate reason I decided to open a boutique was because I was trying to bring a level of diversity to Fairborn,” said Chess.

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

African Utopian Boutique features clothing for kids, men and women, jewelry, novelties, bags, hats, drums and much more. Chess said most of the items in her store are handmade from Ethiopia and Ghana. She also has a few items from India.

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As a community advocate, Chess said it’s really important to her that everyone feels comfortable coming into the store.

“It’s okay to wear African attire,” she said.

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

Chess has roots in West Africa and recalled wearing African clothing sometimes as a child. She said she likes the bright colors and different patterns of the clothing.

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Having an African shop in Fairborn was important to Chess because the city was once a sundown town that excluded blacks, she explained.

She also wants the community to know an African boutique is open to all. In the future, she hopes to expand the shop and add a tea room.

“I am really excited about what it’s going to bring,” Chess said. “My doors are open to anyone that wants to visit.”

African Utopian Boutique, located at 422 W. Main Street in Fairborn, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.

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