Couture JuJu by Nama Isé-Ona to NY Fashion Week
$1,805 raised
52% of $3.5k goal
15 contributors
52 Weeks running
Ɲàma Iṣé-Ọnà is an indie fashion by couture designer, textile and multidisciplinary cultural artisan Nailah I. Akinyémi-Sankofa — raising funds to show her collection "Couture JuJu" in NYC during New York Fashion Week February 2018.


Limited Edition Designer Fashions
Textiles ~ Jewelry ~ Accessories & Shoes

Nàma Isé-Oná by Nailah I. Akinyémi-Sankofa is raising funds to launch her Fall/Winter 2018 collection & project "Couture JuJu" to break into the NY market during New York Fashion Week this February 2018

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Nàma Isé-Oná (pronounced “Nhah maa eh SHAY Oh nah”) is a combination of Malinké (Cote D'Ivoire) and Yoruba (Nigeria) languages, which, for its founder, loosely mean "A vessel for something coveted, sacred and beautifully dangerous."

Nàma Isé-Oná is the fashion brand from multidisciplinary cultural artisan and fashion, accessories and furniture designer Nailah I. Akinyémi-Sankofa. Known for her textile artistry and intricate handwork , Nailah also has an innate talent for smoothly combining varied textures, colors and patterns that create subtle yet dynamic (or compelling) wearable works of art that adorn, shield, nurture  and empower the wearer and enrapture the viewer.

The combination of textures, fabric weights, rich colors, hypnotic patterns, hand beading and fine embroidery work along with a great attention to details are all essential signature elements of Nàma Isé-Oná.  

Based in Austin, Texas, Nàma Isé-Oná specializes in creating one-of-a-kind and limited edition couture, chic ready-to-wear, ethnic-inspired handcrafted dresses, separates, jewelry, knitwear, accessories, outerwear, custom textiles, bridal apparel and, now shoes! Soon, menswear items will be added to the repertoire.  

"Couture Juju" is a reflection and manifestation of Nailah's love of and ability to bring out elements of mystery, refined yet sacred ancient beauty and strength in her garments, jewelry and other accessories within a contemporary context.

During NYFW, Nama Isé-Ona will debut samples of artisanal footwear in unique leathers and embellished textiles from the new Bata Mojo line.

Nailah was originally scheduled to show at Fashion on the Hudson 8 (FOTH 8) in New York City in July 2017 as a featured designer. Due to injuries from a sudden car crash she and her Lead Apparel Tech suffered a few weeks before the big show, she had to pull out of the show at the last minute. Months of hard work, money, time and energy of her workroom team came to a disappointing halt. The car was totaled, but thankfully she and her Lead Apparel Tech walked away with less injuries than anyone who witnessed the crash thought possible.  A week later, another Apparel Tech was rear ended on her way to the workroom.  Ultimately, this series of incidents threw off the production work schedule to complete the remaining pieces for FOTH 8 as well as concurrent client orders.  

A dedicated and determined Nailah didn't stop to rest or recover fully.  She kept pushing through the pain and soreness and continued to create until a wave pain and a debilitating weakness to her left arm and torso hit.   

Nailah has been designing, creating, teaching, mentoring and advocating for Black arts, culture, autonomy and quality of life for over 35 years. She has also spent the past decade championing for dedicated affordable work space, funding and city support for artisans/designers of all ethnicities. Participation in the FOTH 8 was her big opportunity to focus on her vision, artistry and building her fashion brand by breaking into the NY market.

Not only does Nailah spend hours personally designing, pattern drafting, constructing and/or embellishing elements of her garments and accessories, she's also committed to teaching and handing down her vast vocational, business management skills and fashion industry knowledge to the next generation of designers, artisans and apparel techs. Nailah believes that the artisanal skills and knowledge that she and her seasoned Apparel Techs have acquired over the decades should be carried on and evolved by those coming behind them, especially younger Afrikan Diaspora women/mothers who can create cottage enterprises to support themselves and their families.

Through RunWay U nderground and NTUMA'PA, Nailah has created fashion events, training/educational, business development and cultural arts programs to provide mentoring and resources to emerging and established designers and Apparel Techs. Ultimately, Nailah’s  driving goal and desire is to create and sustain apparel production industry jobs by building a true atelier in Austin, staffed with skilled artisans and technicians capable of producing fine handwork along the lines of great ateliers of some of the world’s fashion capitals.  

After years of pushing and fighting for the City of Austin to acknowledge, create and support independent fashion and apparel production businesses as well as an apparel district, one Austin City Council member finally "got it" and rallied other council members to pass a fashion industries initiative via Resolution 111 in 2014.

By supporting Nailah show at debuting her collection during NY Fashion Week (5-16 February 2018), you're supporting cultural fashion and design genius as well as celebrating the long hours and hard work the Lead Apparel Techs, apprentices and interns put into the works of art that make up the collections and lines from Nama Ise-Ona. Nailah will also be the first Black female fashion designer in Austin to handcraft her own shoes.

In spite of unforeseen setbacks — including losing their temporary workroom space, the dedication and tenacity of all those involved in creating the garments, jewelry, other accessory items and products that make up Nama Isé-Ona’s unique brand, Nailah and her team have not wavered.  They will work on collection pieces in Nailah’s very tiny studio apartment, the fellowship hall in the basement one of the apparel tech’s church, the community library and cultural center or, even their storage space to complete the collection.  She may even have to give up her tiny apartment and put everything in storage in order to make this NY Fashion Week debut launch and business development adventure a reality. 

Breaking into the New Your market and, ultimately presenting your work during New York Fashion Week is the opportunity of a lifetime that all professional designers dream of, hope, wish and sacrifice for. Not only will Nailah be able to shop around her Fall/Winter 2018 collection to NY buyers, boutique owners and managers, press/media, industry insiders she will have a chance to attend and work backstage at other noted NYFW shows, events and meetings with industry insiders. Something that would rarely, if ever happen in Austin. 


Austin's KVUE TV created and featured this great story on Nailah that aired on Monday, 5 February 2018 at:



  • Participating in and attending industry and development workshops, meetings, classes, trade shows and networking fashion events
  • Assisting backstage at Couture Fashion Week shows and two other NYFW events
  • Working and meeting with NY fashion program students
  • Establishing and cementing relationships with textile and resource suppliers in the garment district while acquiring and researching textiles for the current and upcoming collections and orders.
  • Room/Board for part



  • $100-$199 contributions receive a gift of a limited edition printed and signed Nàma Isé-Oná t-shirt*.
  • $200-$349 contributions made through the end of January receive a gift of limited edition custom dyed, printed and embroidered scarf or pocket square*   .
  • $350+ contributions receive a choice of a pair of limited edition handcrafted "Bata Mojo" shoes from the Sneaker I or Sandal I series.

    [*While supplies last. †Gifts will be sent out after the NYFW project. No shipping frees to contiguous US cities.]

All donors will be acknowledged by name (unless they wish to remain anonymous) in the show program, on our websites. Support at $100 - $250 levels from donors in the Austin and Chicago areas will also receive complimentary seating at local 2018 spring shows.

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$100 USD
Contributor Level I - Gift
  • 0 claimed
Estimated delivery Feb 2018
$100-$199 contributions receive a gift of a limited edition printed and signed Nàma Isé-Oná t-shirt*.

[*While supplies last. Shipped to US cities after the show/NY project.]
More ... Less ...
$200 USD
Contribution Level II - Gift
  • 0 claimed
Estimated delivery Mar 2018
$200-$349 contributions made through the end of January receive a gift of limited edition custom dyed, printed and embroidered scarf or pocket square*.

[*While supplies last. †Gifts will be sent out after the show/NY project.]
More ... Less ...
$350 USD
Contribution Level III - Gift
  • 0 claimed
Estimated delivery Mar 2018
$350.00+ contributions receive a choice of a pair of limited edition handcrafted "Bata Mojo" shoes from the Sneaker I or Sandal I series.

[*While supplies last. †Gifts will be sent out after the show/NY project to contiguous US cities w/no shipping fees.]
More ... Less ...
Show Discontinued Perks
$100 USD
Contributor Level II - Gift

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