Taibo Bacar is the Mozambican designer who takes inspiration from his native heritage and customs, African nobility and royalty, and the sensuousness of the female form.
His eponymous label, which he founded in 2008 with business partner Tatiana Ismael, is known for their luxurious pieces in lively prints and exceptional quality.
The son of a seamstress, he’s always been enthralled by the world of fashion, and uses this as a tool to champion another one of his passions - that of showcasing African excellence.
Through his designs, he aims to tell stories - from the history to the people and their perseverance, TAIBO BACAR is rooted in an innately African identity.
In light of Heritage Month, the designer chats exclusively to Glamour SA about his life, brand, and visions for the future.
Tell us about your career journey – how did you enter the fashion industry and how did you get to where you are today?
Fashion is a family business for me. My mom’s a seamstress so there’s always been a link to the world of fashion. She invested in my studies, and I eventually acquired skills and abilities to turn our family business into something bigger and better.
What does the Taibo Bacar brand aim to represent?
The certainty that every African can build their history in Africa, being African and even so enticing the world and conquering it. It’s our aim to represent, from Africa to the world.
Who is the ideal Taibo Bacar woman/man?
The ideal TAIBO BACAR client is intelligent, versatile, determined and a lover of simplicity. A common mortal that has dreams and ambitions whose goal is to express themselves in the best way possible and to be happy.
What are you influenced and inspired by when creating a new piece/collection?
When designing new pieces/collections, we aim to look at what the brand represents and the roots of out DNA, therefore, some key elements of our inspiration at TAIBO BACAR are: devotion to quality of high-end pieces, influence from Mozambican heritage and customs, and the sedulousness of the female silhouette. Our pieces/collections carry stories - whether they are of personal battles or more communal ones, so there is always a distinctive touch to the creation and inspiration of each collection.
What’s something you’re proudest of in your career so far?
The one thing I’m most proud of is to have my best friend as my business partner from the very beginning to this day.
What is the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome in establishing your brand?
When establishing TAIBO BACAR, our challenges rose mainly because of the market we decided to integrate in. As it stands, the biggest obstacles have been the devaluation of African brands by Africans; direct connection with political issues; the fact that we are part of a pioneer group and constant comparison with renowned international brands.
What are your visions for the future of your brand?
Essentially, I want TAIBO BACAR to grow continuously whilst, in the process, innovating when presenting new products. It’s also important – in the industry we are in – to be consistent, so that too is a vision I have for the future of TAIBO BACAR.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given has come from my parents and that is to always be happy.
What advice would give to others trying to start out in the fashion design industry?
Fashion design isn’t an easy business to get into, especially when there are brands that have been establishing benchmarks since the 80s and 90s. My advice would be to work hard and believe in your craft.
Aside from your clothing, what’s one thing you’d love people to remember you by?
Different people will remember me for different reasons because each one of them will have had their individual experience with me. But they will all have experienced something in common and that is my strength to chase my dreams and make them come to reality. More than just a dreamer, I am an operator who makes dreams come true.