Niiamar Felder is inspired by the brilliance of fashion. He has been influenced by industry icons, including Valentino Garavani, Halston and the late Patrick Kelly. Icons whose work set the standards, often redefining the art of fashion. From Evening Wear to Ready-to-Wear, and Costume Design, NIIAMAR's brand flourishes as the designer is driven by a passion for creation, design and inclusion. His credo (attributed to his favorite writer, James Baldwin) is "the world is before you and you need not take it or leave it as it was when you came in."
His dedication to classic, enduring style has become the signature of his designs. Niiamar's love for artistry blossomed at an early age, drawing inspiration from paintings, architecture and nostalgic glamour. He attended Douglas Anderson School of the Arts (DA), a nationally ranked performing arts high school in Jacksonville, FL. While attending DA, he experienced major artistic growth. A classically trained Tenor, Niiamar won several statewide vocal competitions, engaged in acting, dancing, and studied art (drawing, painting and sculpting). The support and encouragement received from his Father and Mother as a child augmented Niiamar's creativity.
Impressive vocals afforded Niiamar several scholarships to study music at Florida A &M University (FAMU);however, after enrolling, he eventually chose to follow a longing desire to become a fashion designer. His talent and ingenuity was instrumental in launching FAMU's Fashion Design Program, where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in design. While in college, accolades for the burgeoning designer began to build. He entered the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in 2004 . In the same year, Niiamar was also nominated for the prestigious Marvin L. Sims Design Fellowship and The Barbizon Award for Theatrical Design Excellence. Following graduation in 2007, Niiamar worked as a Design Assistant to renowned designer, Kevan Hall. Under Hall's direction, he developed artistically, honed his creative skills and learned invaluable lessons about the "business of fashion." A remarkable experience that further forged his desire to be a paragon in the world of fashion, driven to provide a path for rising designers of color to ascend to even greater heights.
His design aesthetic is further influenced by how women lived and dressed socially during the 1920's - 1960's. Lena Horne, Josephine Baker, Dorothy Dandridge, Whitney Houston, and Audrey Hepburn are just a few that represent this designer's idea of glamour. In addition to designing stunning collections, NIIAMAR’s designs are admired by a diverse range of women. An early patron and steadfast admirer of NIIAMAR is Mrs. Jane Marks, a psychotherapist and former first lady of Tallahassee, FL. His penchant for giving back and supporting great causes, allowed him to cross paths with philanthropist and socialite, Loreen Arbus. Who frequently dons his awe-inspiring designs to high profile events. Also included in a list of influential women that wear his designs is Katrina Adams, President and CEO of the United States Tennis Association. Hollywood personalities on nationally syndicated television shows wear NIIAMAR to red carpet events; including the Academy Awards.
Selected as a 2017 Modern Man of Distinction by BLACK ENTERPRISE Magazine, Niiamar's accomplishments in both fashion and costume design are well noted. Including features in EBONY magazine, FASHION BOMB DAILY and an impressive appearance on Lifetime’s “24 Hour Catwalk” where judges took note of his exceptional design aesthetics. He is also a recipient of the American Express Passion Project; an AUDELCO Award nominee for Best Costume Design for the off-Broadway production of August Wilson's "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom." His skillful design with principal costume design work includes: The Billie Holiday Theatre production of "The Old Settler" starring Pauletta Washington and directed by Tony Award nominee, Michel Shay; "Sowa's Red Gravy" starring Tony Award nominee Lonette McKee; "The Cheaters Club"; Cole Porter’s "Kiss Me Kate"; and "The Doll Confessions," directed by Tony Award Winner Trezana Beverly.
Niiamar embarked on a life changing venture in 2014; chronicling his journey as a burgeoning designer. The short documentary, NIIAMAR…It is What It Is (released in May 2015) gives an inside look at what it will take to make his mark in the world of fashion. He shares the struggles, drama and triumphs of creating an awe-inspiring collection. The documentary was accepted into film festivals around the country.
In the summer of 2017, he was approached to interview and contribute an essay on legendary Tony and Emmy Award winning Costume Designer, Paul Tazewell. The ground breaking book (published by Routledge Press), titled The Routledge Companion to African American Theatre and Performance, includes over 55 essays and a chapter focusing on 15-16 designers is expected to be released in fall 2018.
He currently resides in New York City where he is the Head of Costumes and Adjunct Assistant Professor at Pace University School of Performing Arts. Prior to joining Pace University, he served as Assistant Costumer from 2008 - 2013 at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NYC, the world's first acting conservatory.