Nostalgia is the Objective, and Minimalism is the Aesthetic, a purposeful acronym and philosophy for rising brand Nomä New York. Founded by Bronx native Amon Ogyiri, the Nomä name has caught the attention of big profile names like Cardi B, Offset, and Gunna. The Black-owned luxury brand has found inspirational attributes in designer Ogyiri’s roots in Bronx, New York, and his West African heritage in Ghana. The brand also takes influence from worldly events and the ebbs and flows of success and failure. They are currently pivoting with their latest collaboration collection from menswear to womenswear and genderless clothing for all future capsules.
With the latest launch of the Aesthete Collection, Ogyiri collaborated with fellow Nigerian Women-owned brand, The Ekhator Label, to create the stunning Nomä Lottie heel. The unity of these two brands encapsulates the story of the strength and beauty of African working-class women who carry baskets with a variety of goods to sell in the hope of providing for their families in these signature basket mules.
These leather mules are offered in two-printed options for the custom Nomä New York monogram print. The heels render a refined and modern look just in time for summer. You can also find a wide array of timeless apparel, footwear, and accessories encompassing the unique monogram and Nomä’s simplistic aesthetic within the Aesthete Collection.
Essence caught up with the up-and-coming designer Amon Ogyiri on his design process, past works, and his hopes for the future of Nomä New York
ESSENCE: Hi Amon, can you start by telling me a little bit about your brand and how you got started?
AMON: Yeah, my brand is Nomä New York. I started it in 2014, the summer before my junior year of high school. My thought process with my brand is that nostalgia is objective, and minimalism is the aesthetic. The brand started as just menswear. I always had a penchant for high fashion, but I was so young that I couldn’t afford it. So, I was like, why not try making my own pieces. I built on that idea and decided to design for others as well. Over the years, I just kept going at it, and in 2022 with the Aesthete Collection in collaboration with The Ekhator Label, I expanded into women’s wear.
Is the Aesthete Collection your first womenswear collection?
I’ve always done womenswear pieces because my designs are unisex, but this is my first intentional womenswear line.
You did this recent collection with The Ekhator Label. How did this collaboration come about?
The founder of The Ekhator Label is a close friend of mine. She’s a women’s wear and footwear designer. Her work is based on the history of Africa, being that she is from Nigeria. I’m from Ghana, and we found a lot of common inspiration from our people back home. Specifically, it came from day sellers. They would put the items they were selling in baskets. So the design collaboration with The Ekhator Label for the Nomä Lottie heels took inspiration from these working-class people back home.
What’s the design process of designing the Nomä Lottie heels?
The Ekhator Label mainly did the design aspect, and she imagined it in a way similar to the baskets that the day sellers would use back home. I went with this design because of our similar roots. We choose to go with leather for the initial design but will also be coming out with a metallic option. The leather is being offered in two colorways. There’s a beige and green option that is my brand’s colors. And the second is black and cream. We wanted a more neutral option that could easily be styled. I came in from an artistic perspective and didn’t want to intrude on her vision for the silhouette.
Would you say your African roots influence you?
Of course, my African roots are fundamental to me, and the fact that my parents were fortunate enough to come here to America to make a better life for us. This allowed me the resources to pursue my passions. So, I definitely make sure to include a bit of my heritage into my brand while designing.
The Nomä Lottie heels and a few other pieces in the Aesthete Collection have an intricate design similar to that of your logo. Can you talk a bit about the creation of the print?
Yeah, so the monogram I made in high school. Seeing how brands used their monogram and how that was a cornerstone of their company, I knew that was something I had to incorporate into my brand. I wanted to keep the design sleek and minimal to be able to move through different mediums. I have two different patterns. The first being the diamond pattern. It is a standard repeat of the logo. It’s inverted and repurposed into a monogram pattern. The second motif is a repetition honeycomb. I wanted to create something unique that could easily be identified as a Nomä piece.
You seem very intentional about the way you go about your aesthetic and the design process. Can you speak about the mood and story you’re trying to tell with the Nomä New York brand?
My objective is art through fabric, and this has remained the basis of my brand throughout all five of the collections that I have done. But each capsule has its own story. For example, my Peace Noir collection touches on Black excellence, topics, and theories. Peace Noir I focused on the disparities Black people go through. Peace Noir II focused on the George Floyd events, and Peace Noir IV was centered around Black excellence. My Anchors collection from last year touched on the volatility of life and how we go through things—the highs and lows of life. There’s levels to it. I also wanted to create pieces that are timelines and can be passed down.
How would you say it’s been as a Black man maneuvering through the fashion space?
It’s volatile. My Anchors collection was a reflection of how I was moving through the space and how I felt—the ups and downs of it all. You have to try not to sink. There will be those moments where people love you and the moments where you plateau. I can find myself getting lost in the sauce at times because trends are constantly evolving, and if you create something, someone else will probably create the same thing. It’s easier to create something that other people can’t make, sticking out of the trends. I had to go back to making signature pieces that were unique to my brand.
What’s next for Nomä New York?
Women’s wear, accessories, and I’m also working on a technical component for collectors to create more of a community. I want to create a site that dives deeper into what the brand does. I would also like to do sample sales of one-of-one pieces that didn’t make the cut. I want to give people who resonate with the brand access. I also hope to expand into creating NFTs to continue generating conversation around pieces. This would look like creating 3D mockups of each piece. It adds this technical component along with the physical garment that can be acquired. It’s currently still a work in progress, but as Web 3 develops, I think it could be great for developing a close community around the brand.