Couture JuJu by Nama Isé-Ona to NY Fashion Week
$835 raised
28% of $3k goal
8 contributors
15 Days left Ends Feb 1, 2018
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" at Harlem Fashion Week in NYC during New York Fashion Week February 2018.


Limited Edition Designer Fashions 
Textiles ~ Jewelry ~ Shoes ~ Accessories

Nàma Isé-Oná by Nailah I. Akinyémi-Sankofa is raising funds to show her Fall/Winter 2018 collection "Couture JuJu" at Harlem Fashion Week in NYC 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 and bridal apparel. Soon, menswear items and handcrafted shoes 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.

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 (and now HFW) 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 Harlem Fashion Week on 4 February during NY Fashion Week (5-16 February 2018) at the historic and prestigious Museum of the City of New York, 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. 

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 and their storage space to complete the collections.

Showing in show in NYC during New York Fashion Week is the opportunity of a lifetime that all professional designers dream of, hope, wish and sacrifice for — and it's just weeks away for Nailah to grasp. Not only will Nailah be able to show her Fall/Winter 2018 collection to a packed house of NY buyers, boutique owners, press/media, industry insiders and fashion patrons at the historic Museum of the City of New York (adjacent to Central Park and between 5th and Madison Avenues — blocks away from the Lincoln Center), she will also have display space in the HFW curated marketplace on the first floor of the MCNY. That means the potential for immediate — "See It Now, Buy It Now" sales platform for attendees along with direct contact with and an opportunity take orders from showroom, boutique and larger retailer buyers and owners. Something that would rarely, if ever happen in Austin.



  • $100-$249 gift made through the end of January: Limited edition custom dyed, printed and embroidered scarf, pocket square or Nàma Isé-Oná t-shirt* with $100 and up made.
  • $250 gift made through the end of January: choice of gift above and placement on the VIP guest list for the show (for those in the NYC area).

[*While supplies last.]

All donors will be acknowledged by name (unless they wish to remain anonymous) in the show program, on our websites and in the credits of the Nama Ise-Ona's edited video show segment from the February show. 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 II - Gift
  • 1 ordered
In addition to being acknowledged on Nama Ise-Ona's NY Fashion Week show marketing materials, website and related social media pages as a contributor, you will receive either a limited edition custom dyed, printed or embroidered scarf or pocket square with $100-$249 contributions made through the end of January.*

[*While supplies last.]
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