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Zicklin Student-Founders of Clothing Brand Are Fashion Models, Moguls—and More

February 2, 2024

Zicklin School juniors Djamina Drabo and Renukh Rampaul (pictured, left to right) are the co-founders of Homme D’Affaire, the first student-clothing brand from Baruch College’s entrepreneurship club.   

Model-moguls Drabo (left) and Rampaul (right)

Homme D’Affaire sells business-casual sweaters and polos as well as comfy T-shirts and hoodies; its online store launched in December 2023. The startup was founded in 2021 by Baruch’s entrepreneurship club, the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO). It is the club’s first startup to offer a tangible product line.

“The club decided we wanted to do a clothing brand, and because Baruch is mainly a business school, the idea of businesscasual fashions made sense,” explains Djamina, CEO’s president. “Coming back from Covid lockdowns, we liked the idea of looking semi-professional in Zoom meetings while still being comfortable.”  

The stylish startup is run by a team of around 20 Baruch undergraduate and graduate student interns, mostly from the Zicklin School. Students who join can get experience in all aspects of running a business, says Djamina: “A lot of our interns want to model, and we can give them that opportunity too.”  

Renukh, who oversees recruitment and other departments and activities, says the startup has departments of communications, marketing, operations, design development, finance, and business development. When hiring interns, “Even if it’s their first working experience, if they’re willing to learn we’ll hire them, and they can attain valuable skills.”  

Homme D’Affaire also collaborates with student clubs at Baruch and other CUNY schools to provide custom merchandise, most recently T-shirts for the Weissman School’s Initiative for the Study of Latin America (ISLA) club. At the Field Center’s annual Baruch Marketplace event last December, Homme D’Affaire showcased a new quarter-zip sweater line, which quickly sold out. They plan to show new designs at a fashion show in the spring.

Surprisingly for such polished professionals, neither of these two young women planned on a business career. Djamina studied computer science in high school and watched enough “Shark Tank” to come up with an idea for an app she wanted to develop. Her newfound passion for entrepreneurship led her to apply to Baruch and the Zicklin School: “Baruch was my first choice and I’m happy I got in,” she says. A cybersecurity major, her favorite class so far is Database Management, taught by Richard Holowczak: “He has a good sense of humor and is passionate about what he does.”  

Renukh’s path was also circuitous. In high school, her passion was animals and she wanted to be a vet or a zoologist, but couldn’t find any local college programs for those careers. During Covid her family’s lack of economic stability drove her to become financially literate. She taught herself about stocks, trading, taxes, and other topics, and decided to study business at Baruch—also her first choice. She and Djamina met in the SEEK program, and the rest, as they say, is fashion history.  

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