African Royalty has been a huge part of Dacy Luneburg’s life. Growing up in Burundi and East Africa in her early years influenced her brand, Dacy Darlette. Luneburg has been creating garments since she was in grade school and went on to study fashion design at The Art Institute of Colorado. In college, she started working as a model for other students while also creating her pieces. This inspired her to model her own brand and learn both sides of fashion — the creation and the presentation.
When she was in grade school in Niger, Luneburg took an art class where she got to design her gown for an event much like prom, with a fashion show. “I remember designing a one-sleeved shoulder, rich purple mini dress. With crystals embellishments and an African print on each side,” Luneburg said. From this event, Luneburg was inspired and thought “it will be nice to do this for a living.”
At a young age, “I loved learning new things such as languages, art, and dancing,” said Luneburg. She has always been a very creative spirit and is now able to share her talents through the combination of art and fashion. In her high school years, she attended Boulder High in Colorado and began making her way into the fashion world. After school, she took fashion design classes and helped create recycled dresses for girls who could not afford prom dresses. Luneburg was noticed for her work and received a scholarship to attend The Art Institute of Colorado from these classes.
After receiving her bachelor’s degree in Fashion in 2018, Luneburg created Dacy Darlette in a slow progression that became an online store in 2019. Luneburg’s goal with her creations is to keep authenticity. She has sourced NANA African Market in Denver for authentic African fabrics; yet, there is a lack of resources in Denver. Therefore, many of Luneburg’s family members who travel to Africa send fabrics back to her.
Keeping the authenticity of African royalty and using real African fabrics is the most important aspect that Luneburg uses in her work. “I see my designs as pieces of art and it’s something that I have been portraying in my work,” Luneburg said. The vibrant colors and patterns that Luneburg seeks for her clothing make each piece stand apart and tell a different story. She incorporates African culture “in the way the clothes drape on the body, what fabrics are used and adding layers,” Luneburg said. The use of draping and versatility in structure is the creation of artistry through the eyes of Luneburg.
“Art is in the design, the message behind the pieces,” Luneburg said.
Since creating Dacy Darlette, Luneburg has focused on custom pieces before moving into mass production. Through each creation, “I want the person wearing it to feel special and know that it’s not just a piece of clothing,” Luneburg said. The choice of fabric and drapery is not the only thing that helps in creating a strong sense of African culture, accessories are a huge part of telling the story as well. Throughout African history, many of the queens and goddesses wore a type of accessory around their neck, waist or wrist and Luneburg has incorporated this into her pieces.
Luneburg’s favorite piece from her Dacy Darlette collection is the asymmetrical cape wrap. This top can be worn over a dress, suit or top and is very versatile. On her website, Luneburg is modeling this wrap with a suit and large gold jewelry.
Currently, Luneburg is working with Reanna Alise on a new brand, GYIDAH. Their brand is focused on curated and repurposed sustainable fashion with an emphasis on draping, leather and structured jackets to accentuate how women can be both soft and strong. Through her work, Luneburg hopes to bring artistry and fashion together for all to feel empowered and beautiful.
Photography by Roxanna Carrasco