Founded in 1989 by Lamine Badain Kouyaté, XULY.Bët (also known as XULY.Bët Funkin' Fashion Factory) is a Paris-based brand that draws heavily from its designer’s Malian heritage. Born in Mali in 1962, Kouyaté formally trained as an architect before he turned to fashion, never planning to make design his vocation. What began as a hobby—Kouyaté told André Leon Talley in a Vogue interviewthat he began making clothes for his club-hopping friends in the ‘80s—quickly evolved, and within five years, XULY.Bët had won France’s ANDAM Prize (a noted benchmark for young designers hoping to enter Paris Fashion Week). In 1994, The New York Times named Kouyaté Designer of the Year.
Named after a Wolof expression that meaning “keep your eyes open,” the brand has been globally recognized for its youthful design aesthetic since its inception, synthetic materials (sometimes hand-dyed in Senegal), lace, faux-fur and t-shirts with provocative slogans featuring prominently in XULY.Bët’s collections. Kouyaté’s exuberant pieces are consistently crafted with an extravagant woman in mind, one who is free of inhibitions and unashamed of her body. Using recycled clothing and discarded garments, Kouyaté’s eclectic prints, minimalist shapes, and process of reshaping fabrics has secured his place as one of the most innovative and celebrated African designers of his time. The brand till today shows at Paris Fashion Week, counting Jenke Ahmed Tailley as one of its longtime collaborators.
- ANDAM Fashion Award, Winner, 1996