DIOP is a heritage-inspired apparel brand breathing new life into the bright colors and bold patterns of Nigeria’s Ankara fabric.
Cofounder and first-generation American Mapate Diop—who lends his Senegalese surname to the brand—puts it this way: “[DIOP] will always reflect my experience living in the space between that heritage and my life as a first-generation American.”
With just a few prototypes and product photos, Mapate and his cofounder, Evan, launched using a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. They raised over $17K in just a few weeks. By the time their campaign was finished, they’d received roughly $20K. Then, they entered the Venture for America (VFA) accelerator in Detroit just as their first pre-orders were getting in the hands of customers.
That was in 2018. Since then, Evan and Mapate have been hard at work, selling their vibrant tees, bandanas, shorts, and now masks, and talking to customers about what drew them to DIOP and where they’re headed next.