Fashion Weekend Magazine

Sophie Zinga: Fashion Designer Officially Certified by the Senegalese Government to Make Masks

Sophie Zinga: Fashion Designer Officially Certified by the Senegalese Government to Make Masks

It was important that Sophie returned to her roots and contributed to Africa

To date, Sophie Zinga has created over 40,000 masks and counting.

It was important that Sophie returned to her roots and contributed to Africa after attaining a degree from Parsons School of Design in the United States of America. She returned home to Dakar, Senegal and launched her eponymous line in 2012.

When the pandemic blindsided the world, Sophie felt an overwhelming desire to take a stand; to do her part for the health and safety of humanity, and that’s how she launched eCommerce website Sophie began manufacturing masks which were in shortage at that time. Currently working with her fellow citizens, private corporations, and government entities across the globe, the high demand and international clientele for masks required another level of authenticity. Sophie had health officials come to her studio to ensure that due process is followed, and the masks were up to par. After inspection, the Senegalese government awarded Sophie Zinga a certificate to produce masks.

The effects of the pandemic hit businesses hard. With less social activities and ceremonies, client orders stopped coming in, and Sophie had to lay off her employees after three months of no customers.

Sophie turned the situation around with her decision to create masks, and her business was revived. She collaborated with local seamstresses who in churning out masks were making much more money than they usually did. “After long periods of no work and no income, it felt really empowering for them to be able to bring back their tailors and tell them, hey, we have a lot of work now,” said Sophie.

Triple protection -Sophie creates masks using three layers of cotton fabric, prioritising safety, breathability and comfort.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, several African entrepreneurs have been rethinking how they run their businesses, and Sophie is one of them. During this time, she breathed life into a project dear to her heart.

Sophie recalls her brief interaction with Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue. “Back in 2015, when I was selected for Vogue Talents, Anna Wintour stopped by my stand, complimented my collection and asked where I sourced my fabric,” Sophie said. “Sourcing from all over the world sounds expensive; you should try to find a way to produce your own.”

Those words stuck and Sophie began the next phase of her fashion empire, Baax Studio.

Baax means ‘heritage’ in Sophie’s native language Wolof. The central idea of Baax is to use elements from her heritage to create pieces that are fueled by her love for vintage fashion. Driven by a desire for more ethically sourced and sustainable ways to produce, Sophie has a team that dyes and weaves the cotton naturally sourced from Senegal.

Sophie Zinga will be launching Baax Studio in November, with the opening of a concept store.

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