Natisha Iloka: My Story
I am a self-taught artisan and the sole designer behind Nyamani Designs. The name “Nyamani” is a somewhat shortened version of my daughter’s name “Nyaimani” which means “daughter of faith” in Swahili. I have always had a strong passion for design and fashion ever since I was a young child and carried this passion with me through high school. After graduating high school, instead of celebrating I spent that summer focused on my dream of attending a fashion design college. After numerous visits, meetings and creating an extensive design portfolio of my own personal sketches I was accepted into FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising) in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, after going through that very lengthy acceptance process, I was not able to attend FIDM due to financial reasons. Though naturally I was heartbroken and crushed this did not end my dreams of one day becoming a designer. After years of working with various types of craft mediums, techniques and methods relating to textile art and design, I fell in love with the age old craft of crochet. I though of ways to refine typical crochet patterns which were primarily granny squares and puff stitches and give them a modern twist and in 1999 Nyamani Designs was born.
NyaMani: My Work
Nyamani Designs began solely as a hat and scarf line with a few crocheted jewelry pieces bringing to life my philosophy that any plain outfit can stand out with eye-catching accessories. After years of crocheting, I decided to switch gears and focus on a style of jewelry that was unique & out of the ordinary. After walking into a textile shop in downtown L.A. I began exploring all the materials housed there which opened up a whole new world of inspiration and ideas for me. This is where my love for lace began. I headed to my home studio with a bag full of lace and a head full of designs all geared up and ready to experiment. After countless hours, days and months of mistakes, hits, misses and successes in my jewelry crafting venture, I was ready to share my work with the word so I opened up a shop on Etsy. I began perfecting my crafts of crochet design and jewelry making by learning and practicing all I could about the mediums and materials I loved to work with the most: fiber, yarn, crystals, etc. I saw what I was able to produce as wearable art and worked tirelessly to take every single vision and design that God gave me and them turn into reality. I found that my designs provoked thought and conversation by sparking the interests of people who were over the average boutique style trends. The moment a costume designer working on TV and film productions saw my work and said to me, "I've never seen anything like this before, you've got something here." my imagination began to soar. I continued to create and push the limits of traditional jewelry and knitwear design and developed a cohesive collection of what I label as artwear.
NyaMani: The Vision
"As an artist, I believe in and strive to produce functional, authentic and thoughtfully executed designs. My works were never meant to sit on a retail or boutique store shelve. Nor were they designed to sit in a stockroom and collect dust waiting to be purchased. NMD pieces are special. They are specifically created to go directly from my heart right into the hands of the purchaser or intended owner of the piece, with no middle man involved."
In 2016 I decided to make the switch from retail to custom work and private commissions. This switch was due in large part to my love of individuality and working one-on-one with my customers. I receive a great deal of custom requests from people worldwide vs. ready-to-wear pieces only. Also due to the uniqueness of my work I find that people are free to be even more expressive with their personal style. Through private commissions, the clients vision and individuality can be expressed in a yell through a statement piece or even a whisper depending on their personality. I marry this with my skills and master craftsmanship to create a piece as unique and individual as the clients own personal signature. Working directly with a client and taking into full consideration their personal style ensures a uniquely designed piece to be cherish for a lifetime and of which they will be the sole possessor. Never will a NMD bespoke piece be reproduced or available for public sale.
The process involved to obtain your exclusive jewelry or knitwear is a fairly simple but exciting one. Your involvement is key as you personally share your vision with me and have a hand in bringing the vision of your artwear to life from start to finish. The bespoke piece is based entirely on your wants and needs which include your personal measurements and choice of numerous material options based on the mediums I work with.
On my site or any of my social media you will never see "stocklists", "press" tabs or a list of well known clients and that is by design. I choose to keep all private commissions true to that title. I don't name drop nor do I have to as my work speaks for itself. No matter who my clients are or what level of public notoriety they may have, I will always maintain the confidentiality of each person I work with.
To create intriguing fashion accessories through timeless designs that inspire others and make them feel beautiful & share a passion for design and handcrafted wearable art that fuse aesthetic innovation with a balance of artistry and function making every piece an object of beauty designed to serve one’s unique personal style.
At NyaMani Designs:
- Customers come first and I strive to secure their loyalty through top quality service.
- Artistry and construction are of great value and I seek to execute and achieve these at my full potential.
- Professionalism is fully embraced and I seek excellence in everything I do.
Inspiration is beautiful and it is all around us, beauty is my motivation, crystals are breathtaking in my eyes and are one of my favorite elements to work with, God crafts my creativity and that in its raw form is my inspiration.......this is Gods work.