While personal taste varies, style remains a universal language. Nadiyah Bradshaw-Spencer has been shaping that narrative for the last 10 years.
Nadiyah started her career in fashion in the prestigious GAP Training Program where she learned and worked across every major area from concept to consumer. With this invaluable start, the Plainfield, New Jersey native took on various roles with increasing responsibility at other companies in her resume, including Ecko Unlimited, Live Mechanics, Aeropostale, Edun, Suno, Phelan and Mara Hoffman.
Equipped with a diverse range of fashion industry experience that spans a variety of brands, aesthetics, company sizes, and consumer demographics, Nadiyah connected her eye for quality with her skills in sourcing, production, relationship building, and negotiation to start her own boutique fashion advisory Bradshaw Consulting Group, taking on the motto “Better Clothing Globally.” Brand’s like Black Owned Everything by Zerina Akers, Brown Girl Jane and Missing Since Thursday, amongst others, have enlisted her expertise. She uses her many fabric mill and manufacturing partners to give new brands a chance through lowered minimums and costs.
BCG’s company mission is simply to help fashion start-ups, get started. CassiusLife.com caught up with the award-winning professional, and Spelman graduate, to discuss her come up and what it means to be a female boss in the fashion industry.
Cassius Life: How did you get your start?
Nadiyah Bradshaw-Spencer: I got my start at The GAP training program. This is at the time they were focusing on bringing in diverse talent into their headquarters. It was a functional program where I learned about planning and distribution which is once you decide what a store should buy how will you plan to distribute; like what pieces you will send to GAP Florida versus GAP Texas. Then I ended up transitioning to production which is the foundation of building all the parts to make a whole and production spoke to me.
CL: After working with other big brands you went on to launch your own agency, Bradshaw Consulting Group. Can you detail your services and what makes your firm so unique?
Nadiyah: In my journey of resourcing from across the globe I learned that there are small factories just like there are small brands. There are a lot of small mills, too. Bradshaw Consulting Group helps start-ups get started. If you’re a fledgling brand I’m your outsource production and development manager. You don’t have to worry about meeting minimum order quantities with me because I have built relationships in the past where I can bring that one small factory multiple clients. I’ll help you navigate the entire lifeline of the product; I take your sketch and bring it to life. Bradshaw Consulting Group started in 2016 and she’s still here. Some of my current clients include Bacardi USA, the Misa Hylton Fashion Academy and Brown Girl Jane.
CL: You have a serious history with The GAP, what are your thoughts on their partnership with Kanye West?
Nadiyah: I think it’s a genius move for both sides. Their identity has suffered. When I was growing up it was one of the stores when it was back to school shopping you would always hit. I think it has been missing a cool factor for some time. The aesthetic and color palette that has been typically synonymous with YEEZY collection and his mindset on uniform styling and dressing I think it will be a good marriage. They are going to take his vibe and go back and match it to their uniform and make it the cooler uniform. Look at what Kanye did with adidas—I think the Ivy Park deal was a no brainer for adidas after seeing what YEEZY did. I think The GAP will be cool again, that’s his energy. Regardless of what you think of political stance or thought process which I don’t agree with. But do I think he is a super talented man with a great visionary perspective when it comes to accessories and apparel? Yes I do.
CL: Considering it is Women’s History Month how important is it that you represent your gender well but more importantly Black women?
Nadiyah: It is an important responsibility and I take it on with excitement. I try to be in these rooms unabashedly me. Often times you have to have these conversations where you have to play the game. [Maybe] change the octave of your voice because your audience might not be the audience you’re used to at home—I have never been that girl. I have always been Nadiyah in any room I have been in. As a Black woman who has seen the backdrop of the world that is not kind to Black males, it is also not kind to Black women. Are we sometimes marginalized? Of course. But do I let that hinder me? No.
What I try to do is show how overly capable I am. I have a natural effervescence I carry being a Black woman and I try to bring that to all my encounters. I’m proud to say that most of my clientele are African Americans. I know what it takes to get started so it is a responsibility of mine to help them avoid some of the some of the intrinsically placed hurdles that are in our way. If anything I try to bring others with me; to not be cliché but we all we got.
Photos: Nadiyah Bradshaw-Spencer