African Designers Are Breaking New Ground And Targeting The Luxury Brand Market

Despite humble beginnings in Mozambique, Taibo Bacar’s fashion house is already competing on catwalks and luxury shops around the world.
One of Africa’s top fashion companies, Taibo Bacar is known for its innovative blend of high and fast fashion items. The brand’s signature creations, which tell personal stories with splashes of color, exquisite cuts and details, have received multiple accolades and have been elevated to the global scene.
A pioneer in its field, this innovative fashion label was the first African brand to present itself at Milan Fashion Week in 2010.

At first
Before fashion house Taibo Bacar, was creator Taibo Bacar, whose mother, a seamstress, was his first source of inspiration. Road to the Fashion Hall of Fame was closed when the designer ran into model Tatiana His Ismael at his 2006 fashion event. That unexpected encounter developed into a label called Taibo Bacar three years later.

Tatiana Ismael is a business expert with extensive knowledge of the commercial side of the fashion industry, making her the perfect business partner for designer Taibo Bacar. Ismael manages the final stages of the business, and designer her Bacar adds his creative flair. As a company, Taibo Bacar seeks to establish close relationships with its customers

“We design very carefully, starting from the conceptualization of a concept or theme, right through to the production process. We want to create a personal relationship with each and every customer. Ismael: “That’s how passionate and sentimental we are about our profession.

With this philosophy, the Taibo Bacar label has united to go beyond beautiful fashion and glossy publications and enter the niche luxury brand market to support the fashion business, yet another groundbreaking business initiative. to embark on.

Regarding the company’s intended entry into the high-end luxury sector, Bacar said: Not all fashion-related, but inspired by what we’ve been doing over the past 12 years, we’ve set a lot of initiatives for the future. “

Intellectual property issues
But not everything was perfect. Especially in a country that is new to the fashion industry and lacks public understanding of the importance of respecting the creations and innovations of others.

In general, it is very difficult to protect intellectual property (IP) in Africa.
Ismael argues that it is difficult for a creative sector like fashion, and even more so for those of us in Mozambique because the business of fashion is not well defined.

Ismael says Mozambique and most African countries will do more to educate the public about intellectual property to ensure that it is taken seriously as a commercial asset. pointing out that it is necessary.
Taibo Bacar says aspiring young African designers should focus on the development of their brands and companies rather than preoccupation with popularity and celebrity status.

Even if the Taibo Bacar name and accompanying logos and visuals are registered as trademarks, it can be difficult to maintain these rights in court.
Ismael believes this is the price the company will have to bear as the industry develops, and while registering a trademark is an important step in facilitating future company growth, it is also difficult to stop infringement. points out that it is inadequate.
Whether they have patents, copyrights, or trademarks, “companies and individuals always have to deal with the difficulty of people using their brands to make money,” she adds.

Taibo Bacar is no stranger to this threat, as his t-shirt and insignia have been duplicated by counterfeiters.

The problem is often exacerbated by burdensome and complex legal systems that discourage many authors from taking legal action to obtain relief.
How can someone who doesn’t even realize that what they’re doing is prohibited in the first place understands the value of respecting intellectual property rights? asks Bacar.
IP awareness campaigns should target innovators and creators as well as the general public who use our products and services and interact with our brands.

For forward-thinking fashion companies, this is a difficult situation, as they did not consider the problems of the digital age and the problems of fashion companies like Taibo Bacar when outdated IP rules were established. In fact, things are even worse. Consider.
Industry stakeholders are confused by the ambiguity surrounding how to meet new IP challenges and where to look for help in managing them.

However, outside of Mozambique, the situation has improved considerably in developed countries such as South Africa, where the Taibo Bacar brand is known.
As a global brand, we recognize that we must protect our intellectual property in many countries. Thankfully, South Africa has stricter intellectual property rules and its attorneys are more knowledgeable on the subject.

As the Taibo Bacar brand expands globally and enters international markets, IP protection has become very important for businesses.
The business decided to create a department to manage all IP matters so that Bacar and Ismael could focus on the day-to-day tasks of designing, manufacturing, and marketing products.
All photographs, brand names and logos are now part of Taibo Bacar’s trademark portfolio.
Mozambique has established trademark protection for 10 logos. This shows how the brand has changed over time. In addition, the business owns four South African registered logos.

We also consider patenting some of our methods and products, but that would be expensive and we have no way of knowing if the anticipated patent will survive challenge in court.
“Patents cost a lot of money.
According to Ismael, the attorneys we spoke with should be prepared to defend our inventions and products in case someone else develops variations of them, so be careful with us. urged

Despite the difficulties, the designers are still committed to maintaining the works and designs that are unique to the Taibo Bacar brand.
These include an entire selection of leather goods, mainly consisting of wallets and belts.

collaboration with creatives
Fashion, by its very nature, is a collaborative industry that frequently brings together jewelers, photographers, videographers, models, filmmakers, and even software engineers. Taibo Bacar recognizes the issues that can arise when artists have to share or exchange intellectual property for collaboration. Therefore, it is very important that the creative has knowledge of her IP.

“Collaboration often poses challenges for us, so we are very careful about signing contracts or non-disclosure agreements before doing business,” says Bacar.

Publishing images prematurely can jeopardize marketing efforts, so behavior like this is bad news for photography, especially given the fact that even models have turned to taking photoshoot shots with their cell phones. He observes that it is very important.

“During the campaign, we are not allowed to publish photos on any platform prior to the event.
Photography is such an important part of our business that we always have full control over the process, from shooting to editing to design.
According to Bacar, we have very tight contracts to manage our fees and the intellectual property rights of our photographers.
He went on to say that they are committed to protecting the intellectual property rights of photographers by ensuring that their work is properly attributed when used by third parties, including publications. I’m here.
Managing the models and the photos they take isn’t too difficult, as we often have very detailed contracts with international modeling agencies.

Advantages of globalization
Globalization advocate Taibo is calling on African designers to look outside their continent and stop overprotecting its traditional histories.

“We must embrace globalization and protect our own heritage while acknowledging that we cannot expect to get anything from other cultures. We are open to opportunities outside our boundaries by sharing our knowledge and resources with the world and showcasing the amazing work that can be created in Africa.

His claims are backed up by experience. Her innovative use of traditional and vibrant Mozambican caprana fabric earned her the Emerging Designer of the Year award at Africa Fashion Week in Johannesburg in 2012. In Rome, Italy he has the opportunity of a lifetime to network with over 100 renowned designers.
We are open to opportunities that lie outside our boundaries by sharing our traditional knowledge and resources with the world and showcasing the great arts that Africa can do.

Bacar is optimistic that Africa will not always be at the bottom of the fashion business food chain and that the market will develop into a vibrant and ferocious fabric production sector.
The business now operates stores in Mozambique and South Africa and sells its designs online globally.

Expansion plans were launched in 2019 through a franchise effort in South Africa, but had to be shelved due to COVID-19. Many stores continue to have their own designs to serve the South African market.

parting shot
The designer offers advice to aspiring young African designers to focus on growing their brands and businesses instead of getting distracted by popularity and superstar status.

The problem is that most of these young creatives aspire to be designers but don’t realize their priority is brand development. Therefore, they should build their activities within the framework of a profitable and functioning enterprise, rather than operating independently.

This advice is based on the expertise and experience gained during Taibo Bacar’s personal entrepreneurial journey. And that’s how designers set themselves apart and made a statement.

Content courtesy of WIPO. Tybo Bakar & NFH

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