What It’s Like To Be Power House Designer, Adama Paris

The life of a jet setting fashion designer is definitely one on the move and Senegalese designer’s Adama Ndiaye (Adama Paris) is no exception. As a daughter of parents in the diplomatic corps, Ndiaye was born in Kinshasa (former Zaire), and grew up with a global outlook that is truly reflective of her brand, Adama Paris.

As accomplished international designer, she has been featured widely in the media and is a strong advocate for women on the continent. Read below to learn more about how her cultural background and her love for fashion led her to her esteemed position today.

Where are you currently located?

I spend most of my time  in Dakar and Paris.

Where are you from originally?


Your educational background?

I received a “licence ”in economics  from Nantes university, and a Masters degree in banking from the University of Dauphine in Paris.

Describe the Adama Paris Brand

The Adama Paris style is more than a way of dressing; it reflects the moods of the contemporary woman. The Adama Paris woman is an elegant modern woman. She permits an openness to other cultures and refuses to submit to a reductive image, often defined by a single brand, a single culture. The Adama Paris line reflects this journey of sharing between the West and the African continent. The collections are often made with woven loincloth which is an organic cotton hand-woven by Senegalese artisans.”Fashion made ​​in Africa for the world” is the mindset of Adama Paris brand.


Describe your role as the brand’s founder and operator

I am the creative director of the brand, I design the collection and represent the brand at several events.

What was your occupation before Adama Paris?

I was a student in economics and worked briefly at a bank.

What led to your interest in fashion design?

My passion for fashion started at a young age and my interest was probably sparked at  the first fashion show I attended. It was a Yves Saint Laurent fashion show; I was fourteen years old and went with my mom. It was there that I realize that I wanted to go into fashion.

You created Dakar Fashion Week (DFW). Describe the events that led up to its inaugural launch and its impact on the world of fashion to date.

I used to live in Paris and when I came back home to Senegal,  I just wanted to share my fashion with Senegalese public.  Since there was not a fashion week I decide to create one thirteen years ago. DFW allowed me to meet a lot of talented designers and also led  to the creation of Black Fashion Week. More recently, it also led to the development of Fashion Africa TV, the first television channel that is solely dedicated to African fashion.

Who are your style icons?

Saint Laurent & Valentino.

Describe the Adama Paris work culture

We are passionate in all that we do . Everything I do is directly or indirectly connected to my job. I love my job and I feel really blessed and lucky

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

During my travels around the world; women also really inspire me.

What is the favorite part of your job?

Designing and meeting incredible people around the world.

Best professional advice you have ever received

Concentrate on your strength, not on your weakness.

What does a day in the life of Adama look like?

When I’m in Dakar  I try to surf and golf twice a week,  early in the morning, and spend the rest of the time at my office everyday from  10am until 9pm.  Sundays are the exception; I spend time with my family.

You have a meeting with a major client. What is your “go to” outfit?

It really depends on my mood. I can wear jeans or a skirt but I’m more of a pants type of girl.

On the weekends you___________________  

Golf or surf and brunch with my family.

What is your advice for young professionals who strongly desire to pursue their passion?

Focus on your goal and don’t take no for an answer, no matter what.


Image: Adiat Disu Media/Robert Cooper