Five Minutes with Adele Masengo Ngoy


Adele Masengo Ngoy in her studio

Fashion designer/Antoine’s Tailor Shop owner/Portlander by way of the Democratic Republic of Congo Adele Masengo Ngoy on thread counts, boundary-breaking art, and the power of high heels

Greatness and Endurance cuff

My go-to accessories are…

Gold earrings and a cuff by [Westbrook’s] Ebenezer Akakpo. His designs use symbols that have meanings like strength and endurance. I need those things. Greatness and Endurance cuff, $80.

Geometric Alpaca Throw

To cozy up my home for fall, I…

Bring out an alpaca throw my husband bought me at Peruvian Link in Portland. The material is so soft and warm. Geometric alpaca throw, $135. 207-805-1572

wooden africa map

A special piece I own is…

A wooden Africa map my brother gave my husband, who was my boyfriend at the time. In Africa, boyfriend or girlfriend is not acceptable. If you want to date, you get married. So that gift meant a lot.

reversible apron

I’m currently making…

Pillows, oven mitts, and aprons from African fabrics with my students at Women United Around the World [the nonprofit she founded to teach immigrant women sewing]. I want to help them do something different and new. Reversible apron, $30.

Cendrillon sateen bedding

Every home needs…

Nice sheets. I love the feel of sheets from [Freeport’s] Cuddledown and the patterns. My sheets need to be 100 percent cotton and have a thread count of 300 or more. Cendrillon sateen bedding, $59–$319.

Royal heels

I collect…

High heels! Being in the fashion industry, I have to look elegant all the time. I don’t feel dressy enough in flats. I really love my wedding shoes, which I now wear with a lace dress I made. Royal heels, $245.

Sicilian Cerasa mug

After a long day, I…

Sit with my husband and drink lemon-ginger tea from a cup that is just mine. No one else is allowed to use it! Sicilian Cerasa mug, $35.