Mozambique native, Taibo Bacar is an award-winning talented designer with just a few years in the Fashion industry but is without a doubt taking it by a storm. We had a quick chat with Taibo Bacar discussing how the journey started, his Autumn/Winter 2011 collection, his take on the African Fashion Industry and where he thinks the brand his heading. Taibo Bacar also owns another brand ”Amalia’s Garden” he goes into detail about the brand and how it all started.
HFA: How did the brand, TAIBO BACAR come about?
TB: I began my career in 2005 when I gave my first step in the reds fashion awards designer competition, and then forward gave continuity to my work and the work already done by my mother for many years (she is a seamstress). I have always loved everything that connected the arts, then tried to develop the art that I knew best, and as I grew up around tissues, sewing machines, threads, needles, etc. Fashion was the first art that I felt safe to do … is something stronger than me, is something of the heart, it’s true, is without doubt the thing I love most , I do not do fashion, I am fashion . I just had to accept the gift that was born with me, I was born to be happy and I can only be happy doing fashion
Have you always know you were going to end up in fashion?
TB: Not entirely, and despite having spent my entire childhood playing with dolls, in various different times of my life I long for many other professions, so I ended up majoring in business administration and management, but was always stronger than me, has always been I like going out in stages in order to reach the place where my heart craved more coming. Today I feel its all worth while, I am happy, and every day more accomplished, because deep down I feel that I encountered myself, and whenever I create, I feel as if you were to go back and I take care of my customers as I tended my dolls; yes, I am still a child, an adult child and I love to feel this way.
HFA: Did you formally train to be a fashion designer?
TB: No, I do not have any qualification in fashion, I am trained in business and studied for 2 yr Management IT … because these were the courses that myself and my family thought were viable to secure my future … during a season, I wanted to study fashion too, but unfortunately I could not because I did not have the support of my father to take this course and because I could not afford to pay for the course alone. Today, I already have the minimal conditions for me to pay for the course, but I’ve not got the time because my work stolen from me a long time and unfortunately in Mozambique there are no fashion schools, I would have to go overseas to study, but whenever I travel, I try to make small formations in the area of fashion and I have learned a lot from the university students coming from various parts of the world to do the internship in my studio with me.
HFA: Oh excellent! At what point did you make the decision to launch TAIBO BACAR? How has it been since launch?
TB: When I started studying business, I began to learn many things and opening my mind and I realized that I had a talent and could live my dreams and make money with them. I started looking at fashion as something very serious, as a result of income growth of a country, then I had a decision to invest and to work with the thing I love most. My success is due to the fact that I work smiling, I work like I’m playing, because even when I’m not in the studio, everything around me leads me to create, so they’ve gone 5years since the brand Taibo Bacar was released on the market, and from it, I have noticed a growth and a very big improvement in every way, but only last year (2010) I felt complete, because for the first time I presented a collection complete with all accessories brand TAIBO BACAR, from shoes, wallets, clothes properly. I feel I am more complete.
HFA: Why did you decide to specialize mainly in ladies fashion?
TB: It is without doubt the area where I feel more comfortable, I grew up making clothes for dolls, looking at the body of the customers of my mother, looking at women’s fashion magazine (Burda), feel the fabric of women, so is the area that I know better … I treat the female body by the name “you”, and when I create for women,it is as if I am in a conversation with them face to face, talking to create my drawings and feeling feminine side in me, it is magical, because it’s a different universe from mine. It is something exciting and I am passionate about women’s silhouette, it is beautiful, because I always try to exploit this woman’s body and always try to make this body be the more feminine possible but now with the brand’s growth, we are introducing the male line and the line for children soon.
HFA: How would you describe your brand in one sentence?
TB: HAPPINESS ; Happiness for those who consume it.
HFA: There are a number of designers/brand in Africa at the moment , what would you say gives TAIBO BACAR a standout factor?
TB: The world vision I have, the need to globalize Africa in particular Mozambique, and the assurance of my identity and the use of my identity in my creations. I am African, but I create for the world
HFA: How do u get inspired for your designs?
TB: I have paid attention to the Fashion trends, then I decide the theme for the collection looking at everything around me, then I write or read a poem with the collection theme, and I take it all the elements necessary for me to create. Always following the ideals of the brand and always being faithful to our line.
HFA: What your most recent collection called and what inspired this collection?
TB: “PARIS“- in honor of my European capitals of fashion visits and inspired by the poem “Paris” of Mozambican writer SONIA SULTUANE.
I listen to the rain outside pattering
On the steamed-up window of my bedroom
My loneliness awakes
Like thin sheets of ice
Dripping onto the flowerbeds of the Tuilleries gardens
Making transparent silhouettes
While I burn inside with desire
To warm your lovely face
Against the icy wind
That my hands though dead
From cold and passion
Are thirsty for your body
My soul seeks
In the lonely white-wrapped afternoon
The fire that is in you
To warm my heart.
Poem by: Sónia Sultuane
HFA: What do you love most about being a designer?
TB: The possibility to make money with dreams. I’m talking about my dreams and the dreams of those who consume the TAIBO BACAR’s brand. live to create and create to live…
HFA:What are the long and short term plans for TAIBO BACAR?
TB: Short term – the launching of the male line and the line for children. Long term – opening the TAIBO BACAR’S store and TAIBO BACAR’S house bridal in Maputo and the expansion throughout Africa and some parts of Europe.
HFA: So tell us a bit about Amalia’s garden and how does it differ from TAIBO BACAR?
TB: Amalia’s garden is another brand I created for my company, its a prêt-a-porter brand, for the sales to people with less conditions compared to my regular customers. It is a sales line available in our showroom, where the client does not need to have any contact with me, I created this line in honor of my mother who also is called Amalia. is a line that can be signed by me and by other designers who make part of the group TAIBO BACAR . TAIBO BACAR itself is a line with a certain target audience, where most of these people have direct contact with me, is a line more suited to high fashion and special assignments or specific and is without doubt a more expensive line and a target audience of upper middle class and upper class.
HFA: Is Amalia’s garden getting as much publicity as TAIBO BACAR? Why do you think that is?
TB: These are two completely different lines, few people know the brand Amalia’s Garden, even ones that are parts of this line, still unaware of a way, because until then my brands are very attached to me, I’m the brand at the moment, and because my name is TAIBO BACAR People end up knowing more TAIBO BACAR’s brand, by the way this all started and why my name was always heavier. but that’s changing because we began to separate things, and create marketing strategies so that people can know that there is a difference and that can consume the two markets in different ways, as a consumer I am much more Amalia Garden than Taibo Bacar.
HFA: You were given the award of ‘best established designer’ during Mozambique fashion week , what did that mean to you think that has boosted your confidence as a designer?
TB: When I got this award, I felt I earned the trust of my sincere Mozambican people, and that was the beginning in order to conquer the African people and have the strength to get to win new steps and visit other boundaries, I felt closer to my mother because I could feel her pride and I needed it to be happy. and whenever I think of that moment, I feel like crying because it was an amazing moment, a moment I could only think of the people I love (my family, friends and the whole TAIBO BACAR’s team), for me it was just the beginning, the start of the brand “Taibo Bacar”
HFA: At what level would you the fashion industry in Mozambique is at the moment?
TB: Fashion in Mozambique is growing, everyday we have more designers and more people interested in following the fashion business. Unfortunately we still have lack of many important components, such as, fashion photographers, fashion magazines, the buyers, the media, producers of fashion and much more. I believe that our talent is great and we will do a great difference in the fashion world, especially in Africa. I in the midst of all this I feel blessed, I feel I am helping my country to grow in this area, because I am an important pillar and I have done a lot for my country, I work hard in order to have quality products and very creative, and so I can make a difference. I’m happy with what I have done, because I know I just can not do more because I live in a country where fashion still has not much meaning and the resources are scarce, but surely TAIBO BACAR already part of the history of Mozambican fashion. I am one of the pioneers and it makes me very happy.
HFA: Where do you see African fashion in a few years? At what level and how well do you think we will be doing at that point?
TB: In a few years I see the African fashion at a level too high, because I can feel that we will be safer and have more support from our African people , I feel that people will start to consume a lot more to fashion made by ourselves and each day we will have more professionals working in that area. Africa is in fashion, and consume things done in Africa, by Africans, will also be increasingly in vogue; fashion made by Africans has everything to win, mainly because our history that serves as a great base for our inspirations. We have many products for use in Africa, the cultures are diverse and different minds, and these differences between us will be the big reason for our success, we need only to be united, to study more, and to invest a lot so that we can create with quality and above all, responsibility; we are the people of tomorrow, we will be a continent of success.
HFA: What top African designer (s), do you admire their work and drive at the moment?
TB: As creator, this time I’m in love with the brand TAIBO BACAR, because I think that my brand has been a source of great joy for me and is in the process of discovery, so I have had all eyes turned to her and no doubt because it portrays well as I would if I were a woman. Naturally there are designers that I enjoy by various factors, such as the “David Tlale” for being my friend, I admire the strength that he has the courage and boldness. I also like “Soucha” for the same reason and taste of several Nigerian designers for quality of work and by movements of fashion made for them. Both Nigerians and South Africans, it helped to develop the African fashion and make it be known and deserve much applause. Now, as a consumer, right now I’m in love with the brand “STIAAN LOUW”, I watched the last show of them and fell in love.
HFA: Any famous designer that inspire your work in any way or that you look forward to working in the near future?
TB: All the famous designers are important to me, each for a particular reason. And the existence of all of them was or is important in my work. they all serve to me as a source of inspiration both for my collections, and for me as a person and professional and even the composition of my shows. Thanks to them all for helping to develop FASHION.
HFA: Further information you want to pass on to readers? Projects? Fashion shows? New collection?
TB: In the fashion world everything is uncertain because everything ends up being part of a world of dreams and surprises, where reality must be the consumption of a product called fashion, so to finish I leave my life philosophy:
We need to be happy, and for that, we need personality, elegance and glamour. I’m talking about dreams, about being above ordinary, I’m talking about fashion world… Hard work is important and you must reinvent your creativity. Be yourself and believe in yourself… Then everything is possible. TRUST IN YOU… DRESS TAIBO BACAR
– Romola Sadiq
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