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Meet Nyki Allen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nyki Allen.

Hi Nyki, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I’m a Midwest native, I credit my grandmother for teaching me how to sew. It gave me an outlet to express the pain of losing my mother at a very young age. I started modeling at age ten and sewing at age twelve. Fashion was my creative release. My passion led me to the International Academy of Merchandising and Design in Chicago; where I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design in 1994.

I later relocated to Los Angeles to pursue my dreams in the industry. I worked with clients such as the Artist formerly known as Prince, Nasty Gal, Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom’s, Baby Phat, Dickies, Macy’s, Osh Kosh Bgosh and Show Me Your Mumu to name a few. After years of traveling & designing for other companies, I was inspired to create my own private label of luxury swimwear for everyday women. In 2013, Gyv Me Body was born with the understanding that Real Women come in a variety of sizes and shapes and many have curves. Gyv Me Body embraces and caters to the reality of all women no matter the shape or size; my swimwear supports them in feeling confident, sexy and classy. The collection consists of bathing suits, cover ups and pieces that go from the pool to date night.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road has not been easy. It’s a roller coaster. I’ve had great seasons and what felt like disastrous ones. The collections I thought were just ok, were successful and the ones that I love were not always well received. You win some and you lose some. It’s the nature of the biz. Finding resources at affordable costs is always a challenge because I LOVE quality fabrications, trim and construction. I don’t like to cheat costs with cheap labor or resources. I design what I would and do wear. Another challenge is that I collaborate with other African American creators and models. This can be frustrating because Social Media is constantly blocking tastefully captured women of color stating that it shows too much skin….. well, if a women is wearing a bathing suit, she’s 6 foot tall and wears a size 16, she’s going to have more “skin” than a size 4 who is 5.5″.

In conclusion, social media marketing is a HUGE challenge because as a brand, I am not allowed to show my products on my beautiful models in the same light that non-minority brands are able to do with privilege. The most recent challenge by far has been Covid 19. We know that we are not alone as a business who has felt the sting of the pandemic. Most of our clients are travelers. With travel being on hold for most of the world, we felt the pinch. However, that’s when creativity and taking risks kicked in. We, like so many, started making masks and were flooded beyond belief for a solid six months. It was crazy in a good way. It definitely kept us afloat. Since then, we’ve added masks to our collection and since the pandemic is still active, so are our mask sells. Lastly, with Fashion Weeks shut down due to pandemic restrictions, we are trying so many avenues to reach or stay connected with our clients. It’s a challenge to say the least, but we are hopeful that this too will pass and we’ll be back to the runway next year or create more innovative ways to bring fashion to the masses virtually.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I design clothing in a nutshell. I have been designing for over 32 years. I created my first design in High School and the rest was herstory. I have ghost designed for several brands in my career. I make patterns using state of the art programs. I work with a variety of fabrics, but I must say that knits are my specialty. I am known for a great fit. A garment MUST fit correctly… especially Swimwear. It must support, hold and cater to the body no matter the size of the wearer. I believe strongly that my styling and my fit are what sets me apart from other brands. I do NOT copy. This is integral to me. I am commissioned from others to copy “knock off” other brands. Naturally, It doesn’t sit well with me. I know it is a part of the “job” if I choose to accept it, but it’s not the practice for the Gyv Me Body brand. Am I inspired by other Designers, YES! But I do not copy other’s work, without being commissioned. I am most proud of how my brand makes Women feel. I have watched Women go from no confidence to 100% by seeing themselves in one of my suits. It’s the BEST gift I have and can offer. I recently added a new collection to my brand. It’s called Elegant Home Decor by Elzonya. It’s a mix of home decorations to add pizzazz to your tableware with trays, coasters, candle holders, table linen and more.

What would you say have been one of the most important lessons you’ve learned?
Take risks. You only live once, so live it to the fullest. Regret is a hard thing to let go. Make a decision, live in the moment and enjoy the journey. You don’t know everything. It’s important to work with others that you can learn from and work with. Collaboration is power.


  • Bathing Suits range from $60 – $185
  • Men’s range from $50 – $250
  • Masks range from $10 – $25
  • Home Decor range from $45 – $120

Contact Info:

Image Credits

Cyle Chapman Photography : Models: (Top Photo) Green Twins and Designer, Nyki Allen
(Photo 2) Model:  Gabriella Bongiovanni
MCY PHOTOGRAPHY (Photo 4) Model : ANTM, Keenyah Hill
Gervel Sampson Photography : Models: (Photo 3) Cori Nicole, (Photo 5) Amina and Heather Blair Caudill, (Photo 6) Stephanii Nelson, (Photo 7) Cherise Charleswell (Photo 8)
Anika Wilmore
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