BY Dollita Okine, 2:46pm March 01, 2024,

How a Wall Street employee turned math teacher uses math equations to create fashion prints

Diarra Bousso Gueye. Photo: CNN/Satoshi Suga

Senegal’s Diarra Bousso Gueye had a light bulb moment while grading a set of math assignments. Today, she has converted her ideas into a major fashion brand.

She went to Norway at the age of sixteen to complete her high school education. After graduating, she went to the United States to study math, economics, and statistics. Later, she landed a Wall Street job, originally at an investment bank and subsequently on the trading floor.

Nevertheless, she never lost sight of her passion for fashion, and she finally launched a site on which she posted pictures of outfits she saw on New York streets.

Gueye finally left Wall Street in 2013 to launch her own fashion label. She began arranging fashion weeks and events in nations such as the United States and Senegal before pursuing a Master’s degree in mathematics at Stanford University.

In 2020, CNN reported that she travels back and forth between Senegal, where her garments are created, and the U.S., where she teaches math at a high school in Silicon Valley.

Gueye, who grew up playing dress-up with dolls, explored how she could apply her love of arithmetic to drawings and designs for clothing.

Soon after that eye-opening classroom moment, she launched her brand, Diarrablu, in 2015, using math concepts such as geometric transformations and quadratic transformations to create multiple prints in bold colors.

She told CNN, “My work is fully focused on the use of mathematics for the creative process.” 

“I am proud to call myself a creative mathematician and I spend my day doing or teaching math. As a result, all my creations have this DNA,” she added.

Her “Joal print,” for example, was inspired by a course on exponential and quadratic functions, she said, adding that she incorporates elements of her Senegalese ancestry into her creations.

Gueye is a part of the new generation of designers that are bringing creativity and innovation to the fast-growing African fashion sector which is worth over $31 billion. In the future, she hopes to see more partnerships among designers on the continent.

“I am happy that African designers are taking stronger ownership of the narrative and I encourage us to keep writing our own stories and create our own validation,” she expressed.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: March 1, 2024


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