In the early nineties, under the Xuly Bët label, Malian designer Lamine Badian Kouyaté created a style of clothing that reflects a genuine fashion attitude: that of young girls who combat the dreariness of urban life with vivacious outfits.
Adopting the African practice of reusing old clothing, he made patchwork dresses out of repainted T-shirts or crocheted knits, army anoraks recut and lined with dayglo fake fur, and simple nylon jumpsuits transformed into dresses by the miracle of tie-dye, all sheathed in a layer of dissected hose.
At the alternative art space Hôpital Ephémère, Kouyaté launched his first collection in 1991 and founded his own company in 1993. In 1994, he settled in his “funkin’fashion factory” in the Paris suburb of Pantin. This vast industrial loft serves as workshop as well as meeting place and concert space. The same year, hewas named designer of the year by the New York Times.
In 1996, Kouyaté opened his first boutique in central Paris and another in New York. The 3 Suisses catalogue has included him in its pages and the sportswear company Puma commissioned him to design a collection of dresses and shoes in the colours of the label. He won an ANDAM fellowship in 1996, which enabled him to mass produce certain designs which until then had been one-of-a-kind pieces.
This former architecture student does not limit his activities to fashion, feeling as he does an affinity for other related artistic fields. He constantly develops collaboration with luxury brands, stores and artists.