• Solange McKenzie

Nija Battle: Changes Fur-ever


Janette Chaves in a custom Nija Battle coat

Nija Battle is an African-American designer most known for her custom fur designs which took the music world by storm. She was coveted for how she perfectly mixed swag and sophistication in her designs. Unlike many designers Battle did not have a store front so she did most of her self-promoting in person. She was not widely known, so often times while starting out, she would meet her clients in social settings such as clubs or restaurants. This was until Andre Leon, an editor for Vogue wrote about her in 1999, then major artists in the music industry started seeking her out for custom pieces.


Lil Kim in a custom Nija Battle Body Suit, 1999 Source Awards

Nija Battle has designed looks for Whitney Houston, Kid Rock, Naomi Campbell, Mary J. Blige and more. Her most known looks were for Puff Daddy, a pair of black mink trousers, and Lil Kim, a flesh toned bodysuit featuring fur patches and crystals. Nija Battle revolutionized furs by dyeing her designs in bright bold colors which stood out from the typical black a neutral tones seen on furs. The idea of beautiful, bold colors being used on fur and faux fur is still being used today thanks to Nija Battle. She made a huge statement in the fashion world in a short amount of time. In July of 2000, she passed away at the age of 37 due to a brain aneurysm.


-Solange McKenzie

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