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Xuly Bet The Prince of Upcyling

The story of Lamine Kouyaté is one of pride and prejudice. In the 1990s, the fashion designer became a star of the Parisian fashion scene after bringing to the couture capital an idea he picked up in the markets of Mali. Upcycling was and still is a commonplace practice in countries where Europe and the USA dispose of their “old clothes” by the bale. The tailors of Africa developed their own styles using the discarded ward­ robes of Western consumer societies.This idea made
Lamine Kouyaté a pioneer on the catwalks of Europe in an age when eco aware­ ness was an unknown concept in the fashion industry. But because Kouyaté did not want to be part of the globalization of brands in Paris, and because he often encountered underlying racism, the glittering world ejected him again. Fast forward several decades: with design­ ers increasingly considering sustainability, the father of resource­saving fashion is suddenly back in vogue. His label XULY.bët, which means “Keep your eyes open!” in Wolof, now sells hip recycled fashion at prices that even the kids on the street can afford with a little bit of savings.