Founded in 2016 by Sarah Diouf, Tongoro is a ready-to-wear label dedicated to sustainably developing the Senegalese retail production industry by creating job opportunities for expert artisans and tailors. Diouf did not initially set out to become a designer: in 2009, she launched Ghubar, an online fashion and culture magazine, marking her first step towards creating a larger platform to celebrate African women in fashion. Following this, Diouf founded Noir, an African fashion and lifestyle publication, which she still oversees today. Her work in media led her to launch her first fashion line, with the goal of creating an affordable, ‘Made in Africa’ brand for both women on the continent and abroad. Speaking to Elle South Africa about her vision for the brand, the designer said, “The Tongoro girl is one of a kind; she's an adventurer. She's feminine, playful, full of character, she's never afraid of trying new things.”
Today, Tongoro maintains an ethical and artisanal approach to sustainability; the brand sources all materials on the African continent, and works with local artisans who employ skills they inherited from past generations. Tongoro boasts impressive media clout and a growing celebrity following, counting Beyoncé as a long-time wearer. Diouf’s designs can be spotted in the superstar’s acclaimed music film, Black is King, and in 2020, she released her documentary, Made In Africa which takes an intimate look at the Tongoro brand’s journey from inception to worldwide acclaim.
Characterised by their billowing, oversized silhouettes, one-of-a-kind prints and an unfettered feminine spirit, Diouf’s pieces also boast expert tailoring and a seamless versatility. “I do not create "collections", she told Wanted Online in 2017, “I create
- Quartz Africa Innovator, 2019
- Essence Black Fashion Awards, Designer of the Year Nominee, 2019