First Person

A young and bold designer makes her debut

At Boston Fashion Week, 22-year-old designer Nubia Williams pays tribute to ancient Egypt.

Dina Rudick/Globe Staff

It all began when I was little. My mother is a visual artist, so she used to take me to a lot of events where women were always dressed to the nines, and it was very inspirational for me. I started doing fashion design collages and women started commissioning me to do pieces for them of these fashion collages. I realized that women kind of loved what I was doing in terms of fashion, and I just loved admiring people’s outfits.

I like to design clothes that work for the woman and not make the woman work for the design. We have an issue with that. We have garments that look great on size 2 models on the runway, but the average person is a size [14]. So, that’s not necessarily realistic. My goal is to design for everyone.


Another thing I like to do is what I call “cultural commentary.” I like to illustrate different cultures through wearable art. I’ll do this with a combination of conceptual pieces, which are more avant-garde and really illustrate the story that I’m focusing on, and then I incorporate the commercial pieces, which are more appealing to the general public.

For this specific collection, I’m illustrating the culture of ancient Nubia. The Egyptian government built a dam that’s going to cause Nubia to eventually become engulfed by its own Nile River, so it’s going to be a lost culture. I did fabric treatments with a water angel, which is a Nubian belief that there are angels in the Nile that are supposed to be their savior. You’ll see treatments with angels and a lot of architectural shapes, kind of mimicking the pyramids and bold color. I think people will definitely be taken aback by what I have.

THE RUNWAY Nubia Williams’s ready-to-wear women’s line launches on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. For tickets, visit nubiawilliamsbostonfashionweek.eventbrite.com.