Alumni Profile | Ny’Tasha Copeland

I’ve always liked giving back to the community and working with my hands. Now I’m doing both by sharing my design and entrepreneurial skills with the Fashion Club at Thurgood Marshall Academy, where I graduated in 2017.

After I graduated from TMA, I went to college for a year, but it wasn’t really what I wanted to do. I had worked in different jobs, but I really wanted to work for myself. So, I came home and started my own business—Nail Escape LLC. I started doing foil sets, but when I became allergic to the products,  I branched out. I realized I really liked making jewelry and designing press-on nails, so I focused on that. I create custom jewelry, including photo jewelry, and coordinating nail sets so customers can have a complete look. 

In the meantime, I started designing clothes. When I was in high school, my brother’s grandma made my prom dress. I was so amazed by that and inspired to try sewing. My auntie bought me a sewing machine for Christmas after that and I just took off. I’m completely self-taught. I’ve looked everything up on YouTube and taught myself. So far, I’ve made two dresses, a shirt, and a coat. Right now, I’m just designing for myself. Creating clothes as a business is a whole different industry!

That’s how I ended up back at TMA helping with the fashion club. Ms. Ames, the club’s advisor, has been following me on Instagram since I was a member of the fashion club myself. She saw my post about the coat that I made and asked me to come to help out students. Since I started working with the club, I convinced Ms. Ames to order two sewing machines for students to use. They’re working on their first piece, which is creating a shirt. They have to create the design, make a pattern, cut everything out, and sew. 

I really like helping kids. Several of my favorite teachers at TMA had big personalities and were always so positive. Being a teacher in Southeast DC can be hard, but I never saw them down or in a horrible mood. They really helped me when I was in high school, and it makes me happy to be able to give back and help others.