Tara Mabiala’s most recent graduate collection transports us through her heritage and travels, imparting a personal narrative as she redefines African menswear and fashion. asics scarpe donna Growing up in Switzerland with a Swiss mother and Congolese father, Mabiala recalls her childhood experiences and memories through vivid images which are revived in her beautiful clothing. In a wonderful conversation, we explored more of Tara Mabiala’s mixed roots that paved the way to her most recent collection.
(A Nasty Boy): How did you first get into fashion and when did you decide that this was what you wanted to pursue as a career?
(Tara Mabiala): I was drawn to sewing when I was quite young. My parents were adept [at] sewing their own clothes and making certain pieces of our school uniforms. Around [the age of] 12, I started helping them and learning the basics at the same time. adidas nmd r1 femme Being able to make things that looked like they came from shops was quite cool…and it was much cheaper than the real thing.
It was only when a seamstress started making our clothes in Lubumbashi in 2006 that I became fond of bringing my own extravagances into my sewing. From then I quickly became interested in silkscreen printing, and I made “unique” t-shirts for my friends and myself. When I was nominated at the 2013 Swiss Design Awards for my shirts, it was at that moment I knew I should swap architecture studies for fashion design.
(ANB): Where do you get your design aesthetic from, and how did your travels and heritage influence inspire your work? Why is it important for you to share this point of view?
(T.M.): My design aesthetic is mainly from my mix of origins and how I have been influenced by them growing up. asics gel kinsei 4 uomo My travels and heritage came quite naturally to inspire my work [especially with the] things I observed in the street, half-seen things I completed with my imagination, stories passed around. Nike Roshe Run Homme It is important for me to share this to show that “Africa” can inspire more than what meets the eye. Nike Air Max 2009 Homme As creative people who have lived its day-to-day life, it is important for us to translate it into objects and stories that people from other places can relate to.
(ANB): Tell us a little more about your most recent graduate collection. What was your biggest inspiration?
(T.M.): I wanted to channel all the things I had seen whether it be on family, street children, sapeurs or sorcerers. I was really trying to recreate the images and feelings that I had when observing all of those people. I gathered secondhand clothes, my favorite pieces and things from my family and started putting them together. Layering, mixing, ripping, accumulating. From all that research, I rounded up details, shapes and volumes that I would then [infuse into] my collection.
Each silhouette has a story. A man falls in love with the color of the lining of his suit…what is he going to do? He’s going to make sure every part of his outfit tells the same story. Jordan 13 enfants It was really about making little stories up that would translate how I felt when seeing the way certain people dressed. I wanted to work on tailoring in different ways, deconstructing it to obsessively show what is worn underneath. Asics Gel Quantum 360 Femme That is how I came to making suits with cuts and slits here and there. The idea was to have quite basic fabrics, referencing everyday clothing. nike blazer mid uomo I wanted to work with classics like wool, denim and jerseys and then give each of them the same treatment. How would one customize denim with bleach? What would happen if he did it on his Adidas tracksuit?
The key silhouette is my ostentatious king. He wears mostly white, multiplies collars and cuffs (because, I mean, the more you have the better…right?) and thus golden buttons everywhere. adidas tubular enfants The inside of his trousers are so beautiful and full of rhythm that he wears them inside out. asics gel kinsei donna Only. Ever. All the silhouettes answer to the same rules of obsession, ostentatiousness and personal re-appropriation.
(ANB): What are you fascinated by as of this moment in fashion and culture? Are there any designers or trends that you are currently into?
(T.M.): I am currently very interested in sustainable clothing, I think it is essential to think about this problem in this day and age and how to solve over-production, pollution and cheap labor. I am currently into an array of different designers, from Rich Mnisi to Wales Bonner, passing by Stella McCartney.
(ANB): What are you currently working on now, and are there any plans or projects in the upcoming future?
(T.M.): My main ambition now is to go out and learn as much as possible from other designers and brands I admire. My collection being born from secondhand clothing and how people reclaim them, I strongly believe in ethical and sustainable fashion and I am aiming to contribute to that however I can.