Press Releases

Fashion Student Pursuing Her Own American Dream

By: Devra Pransky

March 6, 2015

Far from her native home of Guinea, West Africa, Binta Diallo is living her childhood dream of a life in fashion. Diallo is a student in the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design degree program at The Illinois Institute of Art – Chicago and also the designer of the clothing line Binta Sagale.

Diallo’s mother brought her to the United States for an education; there was nowhere for her to study fashion in Guinea. “When I came here it was to follow my dream,” says Diallo. “I found a school. I went for it.” When Diallo first enrolled at The Illinois Institute of Art – Chicago, she had to leave after just one course due to financial reasons. This, however, did not deter Diallo, who bought a sewing machine and used what she learned in class to continue her education until she re-enrolled in 2013.

Once Diallo honed her sewing skills, she began making things for herself, which grew to making things for family members, and ultimately turned into her line Binta Sagale. Diallo describes her line as “a fusion of African culture with a level of modern sophistication” and says she designs for the young woman, 18-35. Her designs feature a combination of  African and American fabrics. She says this mixes some familiar in the with new and makes people more comfortable trying designs in the African fabrics. Her collections include a variety of colorful bodycon dresses and flirty skirts, along with tops, pants, bodysuits, tights and leggings.

Last year, Diallo had an amazing opportunity when designer Alhassan Toure invited her to MAGIC, a global fashion tradeshow in Las Vegas. Here, Diallo says, she made a lot of international contacts for when she’s ready to “go big.” Diallo is currently working toward her degree and designing for her line, but her future plans are to open her own boutique and take her line home to Africa.

The Illinois Institute of Art - Chicago is one of The Art Institutes, a system of over 50 schools throughout North America. Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options are subject to change. Several institutions included in The Art Institutes system are campuses of South University or Argosy University. The Illinois Institute of Art – Chicago, 350 N. Orleans Street, Suite 136-L, Chicago, IL 60654. © 2015 The Art Institutes. Our email address is

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By: Devra Pransky

March 6, 2015