Designer Spotlight: Nia Thomas Stands For Love In Its Highest Form


Nia Thomas

The eponymous New York-based, Black women-owned brand Nia Thomas was founded in 2018, just shy of a year after Thomas graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in 2017 with a BFA in Fashion Design. The brand’s one-of-a-kind clothing and jewelry are inspired by the founder’s nomadic lifestyle, which is reflected through lush knitted and crochet tops and dresses. She’s dedicated to making clothing that will last lifetimes, working with artisans in Mexico and factories in New York and Peru that use mindful practices as they produce her designs. “Collection after collection, the goal remains the same: We stand for love in its highest form. More connection, affection, and vulnerability in this lifetime. Going back to our roots and primal ways of being through how we get dressed.”

Her love of design was born at the impressionable age of 13. Thomas’s aunt was and still is a tailor and owner of an alterations boutique that Thomas frequented much of her time. “She taught me how to sew, drape and make patterns when I was around 13 years old,” she tells ESSENCE. “I saw how she would create these one-of-a-kind designs for her clients. They would beam with confidence, and I knew from seeing these women stand up straighter and smile at themselves in the mirror that I wanted to make people feel beautiful within themselves through the act of getting dressed.”

She’s always been an advocate for other Black women who want to be part of the fashion scene. Even though we see more and more Black women becoming more centered in the fashion world, we need to practice opening doors and saving seats for other Black women to enter that desired space as well. “I’ve worked hard to cultivate my community, and it is always from this community that I reach out to give collaboration opportunities for the brand,” says Thomas. “Black stylists, photographers, PR girlies, models… everyone is so important to telling the brand’s story and showing Black joy in fashion. It truly is For Us, By Us, but I have noticed people of other races being attracted to the brand because of this, even if they can’t identify with the Black experience. I think it allows a diversity conversation to occur in the fashion industry that is still much needed.” 

Thomas is a champion of the people: Black women. She wants the fashion industry to embrace all types of Blackness. Queer Black women, Black trans women, dark-skinned Black women, disabled Black women, and so on. She tells ESSENCE, “Usually, the mixed-race, light-skinned Black girl is offered more opportunities in fashion, and colorism has always been an issue. I believe the fashion industry is ready to embrace us more now than they have in the past.”

Nia Thomas is a brand that makes you feel like your highest self, as self-love in its highest form is felt in her clothing. Her designs are available on her website as well as on modaoperandi.com.





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