Our New Black History series continues with another guest we’re delighted to feature, Nigeria Ealey.
Nigeria is best known for being a Co-Founder and Creative Director of TIER, one of New York City’s best young fashion brands. But he’s much more than that. The best way to describe him is a “multi-creative entrepreneur,” which, in short, means he’s a leader in more than just New York fashion.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Nigeria’s love for his city and its people shows through in everything he does. He’s not only producing premium apparel that reflects NYC’s distinct style and culture, he’s been uplifting and giving back to the community in many ways. Just to name a couple, he is a former art teacher at Achievement First Apollo Elementary in Brooklyn, and he now is now a leader helping guide the success of entrepreneurs with his Artrepreneur Festival, an event series he founded that bridges the gap between creatives and industry leaders of color.
In our Instagram Live conversation with Nigeria, he described himself as a “self-motivated hustler.” But he’s not just hustling for himself, he’s working hard for others around him, too.
Please introduce yourself, and tell us what everybody should know about you.
My name is Nigeria Ealey, Co-Founder and Creative Director of TIER. I was born and raised in Brooklyn. What should people know about me? I’m left handed—shoutouts to the 10% of the world. I spend most days designing, conceptualizing and leading marketing for TIER. Things that make me happy are watching my favorite shows—anime, action or crime shows, listening to music, laughing and connecting with like-minded people.
You’re a well rounded creative, teaching art through several different scopes, specifically through your fashion designs. What got you started on this journey of wanting to pursue art and design?
Naturally, I’ve always loved art and design. Growing up my mom was an amazing artist and I’d also be intrigued by the outfits on the shows that I watched, especially since I wore a uniform throughout most of my adolescent life. Art and design are both ways of expression and storytelling for me.
What does TIER mean to you, and how did it get started?
TIER means everything to me. TIER is the future. It symbolizes constant growth, and communication.
What do you think distinguishes TIER apart from other apparel brands?
Honestly, we really just create from what we know and our imagination. We really take pride in design, functionality and comfort. That plus being super involved with our community and creating avenues for creatives and entrepreneurs across all industries.
2020 was a year to unpack several things within the world and within self. We just kicked off 2021 with some residue left over from the previous year. How has 2020 inspired you as a Black creative? What do you have in the works for 2021?
Creatively, 2020 inspired me to really accomplish everything I want and with 100% commitment and intention. Time waits for no one—brainstorm, research, plan, take action.
How would you define “New Black History,” and how do you think you’re creating New Black History?
The New Black History is us. All the creatives,designers,entrepreneurs and more out here hustling and really focused, doing the work, and not afraid to follow and achieve their goals.
Check out TIER and the Artrepreneur Festival to see how my team and I are creating New Black History. The work speaks!
Who has inspired or mentored you throughout your life and career?
Some of my inspirations have been drawn from my mom, Kanye West, Jay-Z, my life experiences, my TIER team, my close friends, anime, and some of my former students.
What advice do you give to young Black creatives just starting out? What would you tell someone wanting to start their own brand?
Simple: plan, take action, and execute. Be 100% committed. Don't half-ass anything and don’t always look for shortcuts. Believe nothing is too good for you. Time, passion and dedication always wins.
What is your ultimate goal—in your life, with your brand, or both?
An ultimate goal for the brand is for TIER to be a global representation of creativity, design, and community. Providing resources and opportunities for future creatives and designers.
What are 5 words that describe your place in the New Black History?
There’s honestly only one. I’m meant to be here. I am meant to be here to show what’s possible and what can be achieved.