Out of tragedy was borne Ghubar Magazine, brainchild of media mogul in the making, Sarah Diouf. In summer 2008, Sarah suffered a car accident that left her temporarily immobile and derailed her marketing and communications studies at INSEEC business school in Paris. 
Bedridden with time on her hands, Sarah continued to explore the world beyond her bedroom through a laptop her mother gifted her after the accident.

Sarah grew up traveling the globe--tasting and experiencing its many cultures. She had an interest in fashion that was sometimes indulged by her attendance of shows at Paris Fashion Week courtesy of invitations from one of her mother's dear friends. Diouf noticed the homogeneity of models walking designer runways and pictured in fashion magazines, not to mention the lack of diverse cultural content. Spurred by her desire to see a reflection of herself, her cultural inspirations and those of men and women of different sizes and backgrounds--who also play audience and consumers to high fashion brands and magazines that peddle their wares--in fashion media, Sarah set out to change the make up of high quality fashion content with her own publication, Ghubar Magazine. I sat down with Sarah to discuss the making of Ghubar, her challenges, triumphs and aspirations for the magazine and her media company, Ifren Media Group.

Sarah Diouf, an MBA candidate interested fashion without prior industry experience, jumped into fashion media head first in 2008. She shared her goals with an acquaintance who told her it was too hard so she would never be successful. Never say never. After the release of Ghubar Magazine's first issue in January 2009, fashion enthusiasts and creatives were so enthralled with the concept of her magazine that they sought her out to contribute. Sarah has defied her peer's forecast of failure and managed to build a magazine, blog and brand read and followed globally on her own principles; not to be reduced to inputs of her Klout score, but Ghubar's facebook page boasts 7,000+ followers and her twitter following numbers to 1,400+. Certainly these numbers speak to the quality and relevance of her work. She herself writes, designs layouts, styles, and manages on and offline communications for the publication while successfully juggling a full-time communications role. When I asked how she manages to do this so well and why she bears so much of the work burden she answered: "I don't sleep," and "because I want young, black women to know that they can do this too. And that the content is real. It's coming from me. No matter what I want to maintain Ghubar's authenticity."

Authenticity is what urged me to contact Sarah. In this fashion era where the fourth estate has lost its way, Diouf's voice does not falter. She is open about the fact that, "People are afraid to work with black people in the fashion world." Sarah has contacted many high-end brands to pursue collaborations with Ghubar, but just one has been truly receptive, Prada. You'll notice ads for Prada in Ghubar's Spring 2013 issue. We're eagerly awaiting her fall issue not only for its content, but also to hopefully peel back digital pages that reveal more Prada ads that speak to a burgeoning relationship between her magazine and the brand, and trust in her audience. Hopefully, for the sake of black boys, girls, men and women everywhere, more luxury brands will jettison the idea that: "She is black. So her work has be to black oriented," and acknowledge what we feel they don't, which is that black people globally are interested and can afford their goods. Just ask Oprah.

The look and feel of Ghubar magazine is polished, rich, and clean. It's clear that Sarah and her team of contributors work well collectively to produce a high quality work product. When asked how she went about assembling her team, she simply replied: "I go off feelings. I work with people who embrace the Ghubar spirit. I'm always open for collaboration," and mentioned that her eyes are always on the alert for new talent, which she is quick to pursue for future projects. I could hear the the squeal of excitement in Sarah's voice a propos these chance discoveries as we spoke. My personal experience tells me that such discoveries represent opportunities to push one's work and creativity to new bounds and or to showcase new, different or rare talent outside of your own. In creative pursuits, who doesn't want that? In the words of George Orwell: "Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed. Everything else is public relations." Ghubar successfully presents fresh, well curated content to its followers and that's what sets it apart. Its watchful steward prescribes that aspiring magazine founders have "a strong motive" behind starting their publications. 

The internet democratized fashion and as Sarah points out "a lot of people launch magazines just to launch them," but access to millions of readers does not a strong magazine make. To compete with established print magazines that are racing to dominate the digital landscape, as well as, indie magazines that have found their niche followings, one must have a strong idea to guide it or "drown in the sea of magazines." Beyond vision, Sarah advises: "If you really think that's what you need to do just go for it." Hear, hear!

Sarah isn't stopping at Ghubar; it is only 10% of what she wants to accomplish. She founded Ifren Media Group in Africa in 2012. Can we show her a rousing round of applause? No, seriously. Stand and applaud. Now. Thanks to her work on Ghubar, Sarah has concrete samples of tried and tested visuals that prove her ability to generate high quality advertising materials. Ifren uses these assets in pitches for advertising assignments from companies globally, some unrelated to fashion. Ifren also houses a consulting company that offers brand consulting and visual image creation for emerging designers targeting new markets around the world. And in the works is the launch of Sarah's new pan-African magazine, the one she would have started if she didn't think the fashion industry would reject its black faces. As she explained to me, she had to broaden the audience Ghubar touches to get industry buy in for her work. However, this new publication will cater primarily to black women around the world. It will cover beauty, lifestyle and fashion. Be on the look out for it in coming years.

Through the pages of Ghubar and her blog posts, where you can find self styled images of Sarah, we have come to embrace Sarah's style and admire her taste. I thought it fitting to end our chat with her top boutiques in Paris that are perhaps less well known than Lafayette and what's on her wishlist to strut her stuff in soon. We'll leave one big reveal to her during Paris Fashion Week. Check her blog for it then.

Sarah's fave Parisian boutiques: N15 ParisEpisode; and wishlist item: this pink jacket from Chloe Resort 2014.

Click to read Ghubar Magazine and Blog


  1. I am a big fan of Sara Diouf that I follow on Twitter. I enjoyed reading this article and getting to know a bit more about her. Thank you for this well-written article. Now I have more respect for what she does and wish her continuous success.

    1. First, thank you for reading! Second, we're so glad that you enjoyed this piece! Sarah is truly an inspiration. We'll feature more men and women working on important projects or who can help each of us live a good life. So please stay tuned. Third, checked out your website. Keep doing what you do!

  2. I came across Sarah in 2009 while searching for like minded young black talent! Huge fan! Thanks for this great read. I thought you might talk about her work in Marc!

    1. 8th & Fort, thank you for reading and following us too! We're so glad that you enjoyed reading this!!! We wanted to focus on what Sarah is building on her own, so stuck to Ghubar and Ifren. Thanks for your feedback and please check back for more content like this in the near future. We'd love to hear your thoughts as we roll more and more of it out.


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