The Senegalese fashion designer, Colle Sow Ardo, is celebrating 40 years in the fashion Business.


Model and fashion designer, Colle Ardo Sow (Kolle Ardo Soh) is graduated from the prestigious Institut de coupe et haute couture of Paris in 1979. Back in Senegal, she set up her own business in 1983 in Dakar where she organized her first fashion show under the name of Collé Sow Ardo.

Her advantage was being original, she was the first to use woven loincloth for designer clothes purposes. Since then, Colle has been emulated, but her talent and kindness continue to seduce the most elegant Senegalese women.

Her love for loincloths, she said, is something she owed much to her grandmother who used to call weavers to make loincloths for her.

“She had them in stock, not for sale but for her own pleasure and offered them during marriages or baptisms.”

Colle Sow Ardo remembers that when she was a little girl in her hometown Diourbel, she used to help the weavers make threads. The one crowned today as “ queen of woven loincloth” says that she is very marked by the legacy of her grandmother and her passion for loincloths. A passion she inherited which she decided to take to a higher level with an ambition to give Africa its own signature in the world of fashion design.

“I decided to produce myself my woven loincloths. So, during three months, together with my weavers, we made the adventure, with a lot loincloths thrown in the trash can, until obtaining of the good formula. Then, I obtained a contract with Air Afrique (a defunct African multinationl airline) to make uniforms for their flight attendants and it was a success for a long lease of collections for woven loincloth. I regret nothing today as I am crowned as « queen of woven loincloth”

Sira Vision for promoting African designers and young talents

A well-known Stylist, thanks to her, the city of Dakar became one of the hubs of African design. In 2003 she founded the cultural event called « Sira Vision » an Innovation and African Representation Show, which she named after her daughter Sira. A name usually given to a female firstborn in the Fulani naming tradition.

In 2003 Colle Sow Ardo decided to celebrate her twenty years in the fashion business, twenty years since she started her own clothing line. She invited her friends, business partners, and the big names of African fashion, they all responded positively, and promised to make the journey to Dakar, to help celebrate their friends’ success. Before long, Colle came back to her Fulani senses of selflessness. “Calling my friends to come here just to watch and applaud me, is not the right thing to do”, she said to herself. Rather she decided to turn the event into an African designer fashion show with the purpose of promoting young African talents. Twenty years later, Sira Vision is still one of the most important cultural and fashion show events in Africa. An annual meeting that welcomed the biggest names in African fashion such as Alphadi from Niger, Bamondi from Togo, Beitch Faro from Gabon, Gilles Touré from Ivory Coast, and Imane Ayissi from Cameroon. This event made it possible to introduce many young Senegalese talents including Cheikha, Dominique Mbengue, Lahad Gueye, and many others.

Family Life

Colle Sow Ardo is a well-known professional, nonetheless, she did not abandon her family life; she gave birth to seven children, most of whom worked with her. She relied on a husband who always did everything to push and support her:

“My husband even helped me dress models during my first fashion show in Dakar. Creation is of artistic domain and requires much concentration and balance. This is only possible with a partner that accepts the job. It is a domain also that occasions many expenses. You have to spend out money even though you do not earn any and our husbands often help us financially.”

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