Ahmed Diakhate ’23 (BUS), a finance major at UConn Stamford and the owner of a fashion company, has created and donated 250 face masks to health care workers on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It feels great to be able to help the people around me that are putting their lives on the line to dismiss the horrid situation we are all in,’’ says Diakhate, a Hamden native. “I had the tools to be able to do so, and I feel creating these masks and donating them was the best way for me to use them.’’
Diakhate, who sewed the antibacterial masks between breaks in his studies, distributed them to Yale New Haven Hospital and Masonicare, a senior living center in Wallingford. He chose those two institutions because family friends work there. He gradually became so skilled in making the face masks that he could complete one in about five minutes.
Diakhate started his clothing brand, LOST! Clothing, almost two years ago. The name came from the idea that clothing, and life, is what you make of it. He’s produced five collections to date, including a best seller t-shirt, hoodies, and denim jeans and jackets. He handles all aspects of the business himself, from design to marketing.
“With the clothing I create, I aim to be conceptual. I want people to look at a shirt that I made and come up with a million different ideas of the thought process and what exactly this design represents,’’ he says. “My target market is generally teens to young adults that are interested in the world of streetwear, but I am constantly evolving my company to become a household brand that can suit everybody.’’
His interest in finance is equally entrepreneurial: Diakhate trades stock in his free time. He also co-chairs the finance management committee for the Business Connections Learning Community in Stamford, and enjoys listening to music and playing video games in his free time.
“I think in a time of need, like this, everybody should learn something new and, if they can, they should do something to better the world,’’ Diakhate says.