Maths Teacher Turned Fashion Designer

Maths teacher turned fashion designer, Diarra Bousso Gueye, actually uses her mathematics skills to create her designs. By applying geometry, she’s able to fashion all manner of beautiful patterns, and it’s making a name for herself in the fashion world. Gueye launched her clothing label, Diarrablu in 2015 and started using maths equations in her designs a few years later. She currently shuttles between the US, where she teaches maths in a Silicon Valley high school and Senegal, West Africa, where her clothes are made.

When I wore a Diarrablu dress to celebrate Thanksgiving, the beautiful wrap design, dramatic sleeves, and bold print made quite a splash.

When I told my friends and family the pattern was generated by a math equation and designed by a Senegalese woman who lost her memory and nearly died on her path to becoming a designer, they wanted to know the whole story, naturally. 

I’m guessing you’re intrigued now, too, so voila: Diarra Bousso’s evolution from math nerd to Wall Street bond trader to creative math teacher and fashion designer—and how she nearly lost her life along the way.

And no, she doesn’t plan on choosing between the math and fashion any time soon. 

“I almost feel like it’s too good to be true, that I can do both things,” Bousso told me. “Not just for me—the fashion brand is uplifting entire communities and artisans and providing jobs. And my work in education and research is getting kids to care and learn and be successful.”

Her arrival at this poised position didn’t come easy. The fulcrum of Bousso’s story is a life-threatening accident in 2012 when she was 23 that left her paralyzed and with no memory. The event was precipitated by a bout of severe depression, and in Senegalese culture at the time, Bousso says mental health was considered embarrassing and not discussed openly. Hence, she kept much of her story private. 

Article first published here

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