There's something special about traditional African garb — but there's something even more special when it can be brought into the 21st century and worn anywhere and for any reason. And it's this goal — this sense of longing to create a sustainable, affordable, and size-conscious clothing line that speaks to both old and new — that drives Sengalese mathemetician-turned-designer Diarra Bousso to create her world-renowned DIARRABLU fashion line.
"Understand that by trade and by training, I am a scientist — a mathematician," she told 21Ninety. "So, when I look at things like patterns — a flower, let's say — I don't look at drawing it by hand. Rather, I look at the mathematical equation that creates the flower, and then I use that to create the pattern."
DIARRABLU's mission is to iterate for sustainability while highlighting the African continent’s rich colors and unique patterns through practical and versatile pieces designed using mathematical concepts or algorithms. Through a sartorial merger of tradition and technology, artisans, and algorithms, the collections are marked by strong structural cuts, bold prints, colorful accents, and sustainable solids. The brand’s design process is the result of innovative creative mathematics through the use of algebraic graphs and geometric transformations to create iconic prints.
"Many times," she said, "I run polls on Instagram to see what my fans — and my clients — would like to see next. Once I understand what they want, I turn it over to the artisans, who create it when it's made to order. In this way, I can keep the clothing sustainable and unique."
The majority of the pieces are produced in Dakar, Senegal and the brand’s ethos is focused on sustainability, wanderlust, tradition, and algorithms. The pieces are known for being convertible, adjustable, and wearable across various sizes for a prolonged lifecycle.
And, said Bousso, we can expect more where that came from too. She said that we can expect to see a bridal line, a pret-a-porter (ready to wear) line, and more surprises in the coming months.
"For me, growing my company and sharing my culture is tantamount," she stated. "And any way I can do that, for certain, I will."
You can shop for DIARRABLU clothing here.