A native of Sierra Leone, Zainab received her education in London and Paris. Graduating with a degree in the sciences, she decided to enter the fashion industry rather than pursue medicine, first working 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 series features the cultural touchstone of a country in Africa. 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.