NYWIFT @ Tribeca: In Conversation with Nikia Nelson

By Tammy Reese

NYWIFT member and graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology Nikia Nelson has been working in the fashion and entertainment industries for several years. She started her career working in magazine publishing in the fashion and photo departments. She was able to parlay her experience into working as a stylist & costume designer for fashion, film, and television.

Nikia recently worked as Assistant Costume Designer for the Amazon series The Horror of Dolores Roach. Based on the hit Spotify podcast series of the same name, The Horror of Dolores Roach is a contemporary Sweeney Todd-inspired urban legend of love, betrayal, weed, cannibalism, and survival of the fittest. Dolores Roach (Justina Machado) is released from prison after 16 years and returns to a gentrified Washington Heights. She reunites with an old stoner friend, Luis (Alejandro Hernandez), who lets her live and work as a masseuse in the basement under his empanada shop. When the promise of her newfound stability is quickly threatened, “Magic Hands” Dolores is driven to shocking extremes to survive.

Nikia Nelson is one of 15 NYWIFT members with projects premiering at the 2023 Tribeca Festival! The Horror of Dolores Roach will screen at the festival on June 15 at 8:30 PM (SVA Theatre).


NYWIFT Member Nikia Nelson


What inspired you to become a costume designer?

I have always loved movies and TV since I was a child. I worked in fashion before becoming a costume designer. I love the idea of building a character. I like to get to know who my characters are and it helps me design for them.


How was your experience working on The Horror of Dolores Roach?

HODR is a TV series on Amazon. I really enjoyed working with the costume and wardrobe departments and with the costume designer, Fern. I started during the second half of the season and everyone was so great and welcoming.


Still from The Horror of Delores Roach (Photo Courtesy of Tribeca Festival)


Who were some of your favorite people to work with on set and why?

I love being on set because I love the camaraderie of it. We are all connected and are stronger together.


Why did you become a NYWIFT member and what do you enjoy most about the organization?

The lack of diversity and pay disparity is still a problem across all industries but very prevalent in film, television, and theater. I think NYWIFT is very important for fellowship and support for women in film and television.


Nikia Nelson in the costume racks!


What is a piece of advice you would have for aspiring costume designers?

I would say education [is key] – not necessarily university, but understanding costumes, different silhouettes, fabrics, fashion history, and technique. These things you can learn in school or through mentorship, assisting more experienced designers, and reading and teaching yourself at home.


Connect with Nikia Nelson on Instagram at @TheNikiaNelson and on LinkedIn.


Tammy Reese

Tammy Reese Tammy Reese is a Central New York award winning Actress/Writer/Journalist. She is also a Filmmaker and Publicist.

View all posts by Tammy Reese

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