Nina Nayema designed by Naimo Awale

At what point did you figure out “I want to design shoes?”

I think it was back when I was in high school and I started working at Yorkdale mall.  It was then I imagined the perfect pair of shoes that would give me the appearance of those pretty stylish girls who wear sexy stiletto and knowing full well I could not walk in high heels. I remember wishing someone could design the perfect shoe for an awkward tall girl that could make me look classy and chic.


Are you self-taught or did you study fashion design?

I've never studied fashion in school, the closest thing to fashion design I did was make-up artistry at Seneca College part time. Business and accounting was my full time studies.


Do you ever read fashion or design magazines?

No, I don't often read fashion magazines.


What inspires you as a footwear designer?

My inspiration comes from some amazing people I've met in my life, clients, friends, family, places I've been, cultural background and it's become a way I can express my ever changing emotions. Fashion to me is an amazing way to express yourself, and when I design I do it with the essence of the person in mind or a feeling inside.


Do you have a motto when it comes to shoes?

Yes, "Capturing your style, grace, and beauty in every design". My passion is to design shoes that is someone's dream pair, weather it is a simple flat or a pair of heels they have dreamed of for their special day.


What are your criteria for well-constructed and well-designed shoes?

The quality of the shoe and embracing the diversity of women's shoe sizes so that anyone can find a pair of NINA NAYEMA shoes in any size.


What style of shoes do you like and dislike?

Can't really say I dislike a style of shoes, but I do love any eye catching pair in whatever style it is designed.


Of all the shoes that you’ve designed, which has given you the most satisfaction?

I think I would say my Mimi pointed toe full suede wedges with the gold wedge heel detail. It had an almost mirror like finish that when you had it on it looked like it doesn't have a heel at all. And the best part was it was low and comfortable enough to walk and work in them. (Photo attached )


What do you wish people would understand about working in fashion industry?

I think in any industry it's always a learning process and everything comes with experience, drive and passion.  


If i were a supervillain; what would your powers be and why?

I think I would say the power to see the future. So that I can see the outcome of everything. No surprises!


What’s next for you?

We are working on a couple of projects and always creating new designs whether it is jewellery, handbags or shoes.


Anything we should be keeping our eyes open for the future?

Of course, for NINA NAYEMA. We hope to become Canada's Number 1 shoe brand.