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The Front Lines Of Fashion In Sierra Leone

Adama Kargbo was born and raised in Sierra Leone, but moved to New York when she was 12. After graduating from the famous fashion design...

Adama Kargbo was born and raised in Sierra Leone, but moved to New York when she was 12. After graduating from the famous fashion design program at Parsons, she returned to her home country, ravaged by a desperate and brutal civil war, to launch her high-end line.Sierra Leone isn't the first place you'd think of finding couture, but the country is changing. According to filmmaker Eric Becker, who helped with her first shoot, "It is a world of rural, mud hut villages where cell phone ring tones mix with the sound of baying goats, where chiefs have business cards and gmail accounts. ...where the bottom-still brutally victimized by the trappings of poverty-has begun to connect to a global world at a rapid pace." In this context, Adama's case of reverse brain-drain makes more sense. And while fashion might not heal the wounds of civil war, it may help Sierra Leone realize a more beautiful future.

Adama's line, called Aschobi, is based in Freetown.


Adama had only one model for her shoot. She found the other two girls at a local ex-pat bar.

Adama's clothes give traditional African style an urban twist.

Photos by Henry Jacobson

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