Friday, 3 January 2014

Partner Profile: Diogomaye Lô, Senegal

Madame Tây wouldn't exist if it wasn't for the team of incredibly talented, devoted and patient artisans we are collaborating with. In Senegal, our main partner is our tailor, Diogomaye Lô

I first met Diogomaye Lô in Saint-Louis in August 2013. I was looking for a skilled tailor with a good eye for modern styles and despite the hundreds of tailors working in Saint-Louis’ Marché Santhiaba, it can be really difficult to find a tailor who can make modern clothes, as most of the tailors are specialists in creating traditional Senegalese wear (think long kaftans and ankle-length skirt and matching top ensembles!). One of my oldest friends in Senegal, Beuz, is a tailor, but he has been living and working in France for a few years now. Lucky for me he is still pretty in tune with the tailoring scene in Saint-Louis and suggested I meet Diogo, known also as Diox, when I was looking for a tailor in August last year.

As soon as I saw Diogomaye in his tie-dye shirt with his big, diamond-encrusted necklace (not real diamonds, by the way), I knew Beuz had sent me the right way. Diogomaye made me a few really beautiful and really detailed pieces, so when it came to finding a tailor I could trust to create garments for Madame Tây, I knew he was the man for the job.

Diogo's contemporary work at a fashion show in Saint-Louis in 2009
Some of Diogo's more traditional work

Diogomaye got his first taste for tailoring in 1992 at the tender age of 15. At the time, he worked with his Uncle at Marché Santhiaba while he learnt the techniques of the trade like looping thread, cutting and basic stitches. A few years later, with the support of a family friend, Diogomaye was able to attend a fashion school in the town of Saly, a few hours south of Dakar. Diox spent seven years working and studying in Saly at Ely B Confection, under the tutelage of a franco-senegalese couple who were both fashion fanatics. In Saly, Diogomaye learnt about patternmaking, industrial sewing and mechanical cutting, as well as refining his designing, cutting and sewing techniques. In 2003, he returned to Saint-Louis where he opened his atelier in the Marché Santhiaba, where he has been working for a diverse range of clients ever since.

Here is a photo of the outfit which won Diogomaye the esteemed 'Ciseaux d'Or' (Golden Scissors) award in 2010:

Butterfly lady from Calabash and Bottletops.

He requested I include this photo of him, looking sharp as always:

If you’re ever in Saint-Louis, and would like the number of a talented tailor, you can give Diogomaye a call on +221 77 261 62 57 or +221 70 924 72 60. He has an atelier at the market just at the end of the bridge to the Langue du Barbarie, called Marché Santhiaba. Tell him Madame Tây sent you!

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