Zainab was born in Sierra Leone and educated in London and Paris. Graduating with a degree in the sciences, she decided not to pursue medicine and entered the fashion industry, first as an account executive at Comme des Garçons in New York, then as a buyer for several labels in Los Angeles before opening her own boutique selling global brands in Hollywood.
Initially planning to attend business school in Boston, Zainab instead went on to study fashion and textiles at MassArt. Her intention was to break out on her own and create pieces reflecting a more cosmopolitan mindset integrating her African heritage and global upbringing. In 2015, Zainab Sumu Primitive Modern was born.
Zainab Sumu Primitive Modern combines the traditional and contemporary to showcase the diverse cultural wealth of Africa.Each collection features a country in Africa and a design theme based on the country’s unique culture. Inspired by a love of textiles, art, architecture, music, dance, African tradition and lifestyle, Zainab believes in an aesthetic where tradition, modernity and elegant imperfections collide.
Zainab strives to design items that are versatile, timeless, and functional. She seeks to create emotional and aesthetic resonance between each piece and its wearer.