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Painter.  Sculptor.  Surface Designer.


A native of Sierra Leone, I received my education in London and Paris.  After graduating with a degree in the sciences, I decided to enter the fashion industry rather than continue pursuing medicine.  I worked as an account executive at Comme des Garçons in New York, then as a buyer for several labels in Los Angeles before opening my own boutique selling global brands in Hollywood.

I moved to Boston planning to attend business school. Instead, I went on to study fashion and textiles at MassArt.  My intention was to break out on my own and create pieces reflecting a more cosmopolitan mindset integrating my African heritage and global upbringing.  In 2015, Zainab Sumu Primitive Modern was born.

I design for the globally-minded who share a love for Africa's rich visual and cultural heritage.  Each series features the cultural touchstone of a country in Africa where I have traveled to immerse myself in cultural research. On my return, I create sketches and designs based on my personal experience.

Inspired by a love of textiles, art, architecture, music, dance, African tradition and lifestyle, I believe in an aesthetic where tradition, modernity and elegant imperfections collide.

I hope my work transports you to many wondrous places in Africa!