December 30, 2021
our year in review
A Vogue USA Feature with Kamala Harris on the Cover!
For their February 2021 issue, Vogue focused on 'The United States of Fashion' and highlighted the new faces of American fashion spanning all corners of the country. We spent a day shooting with LA-based photographer Clifford Prince King in San Francisco. He beautifully styled our garden and created a peaceful nap corner with an assemblage of our latest prints. As a Black African, female immigrant, who calls both America and Senegal home, this meant so much for our entire community.
We won the Stitchfix Elevate Grant
With 5 other talented Black Creatives, Busayo Olupona @busayonyc, Bettina Benson @chloekristyn, Jamela Acheampong @kahmune, Marcus Alexander @marcus___alexander and Robin Sirleaf @sarepandrose. We were ready to embark on a beautiful journey of professional and personal growth.
I Spent 3 months in Senegal After Being Away for 2 Years
I went to Maison Blu with my family and we spent quality time with of lots of love, amazing food and beautiful views.
Google Shopping Celebrated us in Their New Interface
In honor of Black History Month and celebrating Blackness in perpetuity, Google commissionned a painting by talented artist Amani Lewis highlighting our garments alongside other Black creators to launch its new permanent Google Shopping Interface focused on Black-owned businesses. I honnestly can’t get over what this means for our community.
We Upgraded our Atelier in Senegal
After winning a $100k grant from the Jack Ma Foundation (which we didn't announce until year end), we upgraded our artisanal workshop in Senegal. Prior to this day, garments used to be made in my childhood bedroom and living room. In February we moved to a 4000 square feet facility and hired a full team in Dakar.
We hosted a Pop Up in Dakar with Sens de Marrakech
We created a unique experience, centered around love and wellness but also designed consciously with regards to Covid. The Pop Up was only on appointment and safety was our priority.
A TikTok of Our Story Became Viral!
As I was randomly scrolling through TikTok, I came across this video of me under a feature called 'Mathematicians you should know'. It was a biographical video that a math teacher named Tracy Conte made about me. She literally shared my life story in 59 seconds. I teared a little after watching it because it reminded me how far I have come and how much my mom supported my healing. The video quickly became viral and the comments from people asking for the movie about my life were very humbling.
We Started Expanding our Global team
I returned to San Francisco in March and while teaching Math full time, I realized we needed more support on the US side. We started expanding our team in San Francisco and then around the world for various remote opportunities.
We Launched our Summer Collection, YONN
I flew to Utah and directed this campaign in the Bonneville Salt Flats. The entire team was recruted via IG DMs. It was pure magic!
Wolof for path or journey, Yonn create a juxtaposition between two worlds, abstract art and geometry. Our prints, inspired by a non-linear path between Senegal, Norway, Costa Rica and the US, explore the magic in randomness and intersections.
You Helped us Design our Future Collections
Thank to your engagement with our polls on Instagram, we are able to only create what's wanted and reduce waste
We Had a Summer Pop Up in New York
We partnered with contemporary eyewear designer Nessy Khem to host a Pop Up in Soho, New York for 2 months.
We Launched our High Summer Collection, Oasis
This collection celebrates the beauty of plants, from full lush gardens to smaller leaves. We designed three new prints, Garden, Flora and Scribble, in a palette of crisp whites, floral greens, soft creams and vibrant rust colors to represent our magical Oasis!
The Most Beautiful Elopment Photoshoot in Our Pieces
Our muse Sydney and her partner Blair celebrated their love in this beautiful shoot in Utah. Everything about this story speaks to us, from the beautiful prints, unique jewelry and magical set-up. Photographed by Marina Williams and Styled by Liz Liadi, this is such a beautiful love story!
Our Art Collab with West Elm Went Live
Art is my love language since a very young age. So being able to share it with the world brings me so much joy! I was so excited about this collaboration with West Elm. I drew all these paintings during the pandemic to celebrate Love and Africa and it was such an honor to have them on such a big platform.
Our Capsule Collection for Shopbop Launched
For High Summer 2021, we designed a capsule for Shopbop and was a huge success.
We Had a Pop Up at Bloomingdale's San Francisco
The Fashion Incubator San Francisco hosted a pop-up to showcase thoughtfully made creations by Bay Area Designers at Bloomingdale's.
The First DIARRABLU Outlet was Born
We launched a 50% Outlet sale with select pieces we have been gathering along the years from sampling, sizing, product development and returns that didn’t make it back to the shipping pipeline.
In one single day we hit a higher revenue number that we had for the entire year 2019 and in one weekend sold 95% of our inventory. This zero waste initiative was a win!
More to come in 2022 <3
We Created A Magical Fall Campaign in the Desert
For FALL ‘21, I wanted to explore the magic of Sahara, which comes from Sahra, صحراء /ˈsˤaħra/), the Arabic word for ‘desert'. Having grown up in Sub-Saharan Africa, this has been an important part of my childhood, from the warm colors to coastal plains. So for Fall, we embarked on a voyage to find a cool desert somewhere in Africa, where our navy, rust and cream color palette would find a home and where we could wrap ourselves in our warm wool ponchos. We ended up in Cape Town, South Africa, in the middle of the Atlantis Dunes to bring this special collection to life.
Our Elevate Collection for Stitchfix Launched
Part of winning the Elevate Grant is becoming a vendor at Stitchfix and little did I expect how big their order would be. We received our largest order in the history of DIARRABLU and tripled our artisanal workforce in Senegal within 4 months!
We Designed our New Dakar Studio and Offices
I went back to Senegal in October and decided to design and build our new studio and offices. Every single piece of furniture was custom made by local wood and bamboo crafstmen. Can't wait to tell you more about this space in 2022.
We launched the Takaay Collection for Holiday '21
Takaay takes inspiration from jewelry and ornaments that celebrate decadence in Fulani high culture, where the omnipresence of gold, both as a material and color, represents wealth and status. We revisit this concept with four new prints featuring gold accents, gold curves, and gold textures cut in both our signature timeless styles and new holiday-appropriate statement pieces.
We Lived Unique Experiences in Senegal
I am always seeking magic; in people, in places, in food. In November, I enjoyed unique getaways in different regions of Senegal I never visited before with my California crew. You can read more about our experiences here
We Shared the Africa Business Heroes TV Show
Last year, I had the amazing opportunity to be selected through my work at Diarrablu as a Top 10 Africa Business Heroes finalist in a pool of over 54,000 applicants to compete for a share of a $1.5 Million prize from the Jack Ma Foundation. The journey was documented in a 4 episode TV show that is now streaming on Youtube.
All these amazing highlights were not self-made. We are love-made, family-made, community-made and we couldn't do any of this without you.
Thank you so incredibly much for creating the space for us to grow. To more magic in 2022!