sirani's fashion

Sirani’s Fashion is bringing the fabrics of West Africa to Toronto

T.O. designer Fatim Sylla is making blazers, skirts, head wraps and more

A new line of womens’ fashion has arrived to warm the city’s winter season with splashy mud cloth prints, cosy jumpsuits and head wraps. In October, Fatim Sylla, the designer behind Sirani’s Fashion, launched her Heritage collection inspired by mud cloth.

Sylla, who grew up in Paris and lived in London, U.K., in her 20s, decided to launch her brand after seeing the rise in popularity of African-inspired fashion across Europe. She started small, selling clothing, and then head wraps and accessories at pop-up markets around the city, and eventually added masks to her inventory.

Heritage is Sylla’s third collection at Sirani’s Fashion and it includes bold blazers, sleek and reversible; fun skirts with exposed zippers you can wear at the front or the back; and jumpsuits in splashy prints. Almost all of her pieces incorporate mud cloth; the prints are from Mali and the fabric she uses is from the Ivory Coast.

“My background is West Africa and that mud cloth is a fabric from Mali,” she says. “This is what they call true Africa fabric.”

Traditionally, Malian mud cloth features intricate patterns in earthy tones painted on stiff woven cotton fabric using dyes created from fermented mud. Sylla takes these patterns and puts them on comfortable, breathable and wearable fabrics for her pieces.



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“I wanted to do something very different and very versatile, that pretty much everybody can wear,” she says. “With my jumpsuits, there’s a visible zipper in the back, you have pockets, it’s not too tight. You can jump if you want to jump in it. I tried to play with fabric that is a little more flexible.”

Most of her clothes are made in the Ivory Coast, whereas the head wraps and masks are made locally. The label’s name, Sirani, is also rooted in Sylla’s background.

“In our culture, so that’s Mali, Senegal and Guinea, you have different names depending on your position in your family,” she explains and adds that Sirani is the name parents would give to their first-born daughter. “I like how it sounds, but also, this is my very first business.”

Sylla also recently gave birth to her second daughter, and named her Seerah.

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO