All that glitters is in the family
by Holly Wilensky
Nov 01, 2010 | 15700 views | 0 0 comments | 551 551 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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A Kimaathi's Beads creation.
In the demanding, time consuming, busy business of fashion, it's great to hear a heartwarming story sometimes. Delali Haligah and son Kimaathi, who form a dynamic design team, are showcased in the Local Designer Spotlight this week. Though family members usually have different interests, this family owns and operates two collaborating business that take the meaning of family time to a different level.

While Delali was sewing orders a number of years ago, she was approached by her young son Kimaathi, who asked if he could help. She wasn’t expecting him to be as enthusiastic as he was, but she soon turned over her beading projects, string and her love for custom jewelry to her son, who developed his own creative vision.

“I insisted that he learn the principles of running a business at a young age” because it teaches him not only responsibility, but the value of money and the appreciation of his many talents, said Haligah.

Haligah is the founder and designer behind Osun Designs (, a ready-to-wear women’s apparel line inspired by African art, culture, colors and textures. Kimaathi, who is now 12 years old, designs for Kimaathi’s Beads, an African-inspired jewelry line. Mother and son enjoy the time spent designing and producing their collections together, then traveling to local trade shows to showcase their lines. While keeping up with the pace and demands of everyday life can be challenging, they find that a common thread of creativity balances and brings them together.

Osun Designs has a long history of bringing quality, one-of-a-kind pieces that Haligah calls “art-to-wear,” to customers locally and globally. Each piece is designed, patterned and produced by Haligah, who has been sewing since she was in high school. Since her first dress sale at age 15, she has realized a lifetime love and passion for translating her African inspired vision into her designs. She starts the process by selecting her colors, fabrics, and textures for the season. From there, the draping, pattern making, cutting and sewing begins. The end result is a unique piece that not only brings her creative satisfaction, but positive energy to the potential customer. Haligah has been delivering her ‘global chic’ designs to her customers for 25-plus years in the making. Bringing her progressive, modern, rich fabrics to the fashion scene means all her designs are original, and they are ALL one-of-a-kind, inspired by historical and modern African Art.

There is no limit to Osun Designs sizing, which widens the audience by accommodating any woman from a size 0 to a plus size. Haligah takes custom orders but usually does not replicate her work.

“Each piece is as creative and individual as the person wearing it,” she said. “I don’t produce any carbon copy pieces.”

She encourages her customers to embrace their individuality. Her collections each season are fresh and innovative with the 'free spirit' in mind. Osun Designs will never encourage or present flashy or fickle trends, said Haligah. Osun pieces are season-less, expressive and enriching to the spirit.

Having been showcased in several ethnic magazines during her design career, Haligah receives love from her customers in Queens' African-American community, as well as from around the globe. She has lived in several countries including England, Nigeria and Ghana, but she ultimately chose to settle down and raise her family right here in Queens.

Juggling homework, karate and the issues that come with running the house means things can get hectic, but this family embodies teamwork. Haligah and Kimaathi work together to accomplish their goals of running an in-home business while living day-to-day life, making an effort to respect each other’s boundaries.

Haligah of Osun Designs serves as a true testament for any parent who thinks they ‘don’t have time’ to kinder their creative spirit because of family obligations. She is a living example that nurturing your own creative spirit, whether you make a business out of it or not, can enrich your life as well as the lives of your kids.

Find Haligah on Facebook by searching for Osun Designs and Queens Fashion Week, which Haligah founded in 2009. Log onto or to stay posted on her latest show schedules, her Queens Fashion Week annual fashion weekend, premier fashion shows and upcoming collections.

Are you an emerging local designer? Register for the BQE Design Expo at to showcase and sell your designs to the public! This is the hottest local designer pre-holiday event of the year, and admission is free to the public!

For more fashion inspiration, style education and local designer spotlighting please visit

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