At BARABARA, we are committed to encouraging our customers to unite through a curiosity, recognition and appreciation of each other’s values and cultures.
BARABARA is a fashion company based in Munich, Germany. It was born in 2021 out of a simple vision: to restore fashion’s artisan roots. With this in mind, we design and manufacture thoughtful garments, shoes and accessories embracing the principles of slow and sustainable fashion, with quality materials that will stand the test of time.
We create considered pieces with touches of exuberance and novelty. These are precious pieces of adornment to accentuate an existing, personal style. We hope they will be treasured for a lifetime.
We are inspired by the arts and crafts heritage of artisanal societies. We wish to unlock a pluralistic and inclusive approach to fashion history and ethnographic diversity. We are advocates for the evolution of artisanal contemporary fashion, going beyond cultural and political boundaries.
BARABARA means ‘the road’ in the Kiswahili Language. It is a nickname the founder, Barbara Baum, was given by the friends she made in Lamu Island in Kenya, East Africa. At BARABARA we will never stop walking ‘the road’ of caring and daring style.
MATERIALS, PRODUCTION AND PURPOSE
BARABARA is the culmination of years of experience in design and education. Founder Barbara Baum likes nothing more than to learn from her former students pioneering new ways of working. Priya Ahluwalia is a prime example and her words are an inspiration: “We are committed to further the messages of equality and celebrate the beauty and importance of cultural diversity and social inclusivity, as well as be conscious of the impact of fashion on people and the planet – these are core values the brand is building upon.
AT BARABARA THERE ARE SEVEN PRINCIPLES TO OUR SUSTAINABLE APPROACH:
● Design with intention to create connections and relationships, authenticity through thorough research, honesty in doing what is authentic to us as human beings and useful to others. Respect and appreciation of resources, cultural or material.
● Make non and trans-seasonal pieces which are flexible in their use and have a long life.
● Utilise recycled, local, end of roll, and vintage materials.
● Work with specialist artisans and older generations to preserve artisanal heritage and support marginalised communities with dignified employment opportunities.
● Limit production to serve demand and avoid unnecessary production.
● Keep an archival collection available to buy as good design will always be relevant.
● Be transparent about our trusted manufacturing partners and suppliers.
WHO WE ARE
BARABARA was founded by Barbara Baum, an established designer and experienced educator. Born in Germany, she studied fashion design at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design and The Royal College of Art in London. After her education she continued to live in London for 25 years working as a fashion designer and consultant for many international fashion houses in the UK, Italy, US, Mexico and Turkey.
Prior to her career as a fashion designer, Barbara engaged in an apprenticeship for historical costume construction in the costume department at the National Opera in Munich, Germany. There she learnt technical and artisanal expertise which have been integral to her design work.
In the early nineties, Barbara was the project manager within a foreign aid project for local women on the island of Lamu in Kenya. Responsible for the development of a small fashion school for the local Muslim-Swahili women, her staff and students engaged in a program to generate additional income through the production of modest wear, inspired by the island’s histiorical crafts and exuberant culture.
Barbara taught at art and design schools around the UK and Izmir in Turkey. Her experience has allowed her to support many talented students with the most diverse backgrounds guiding them to form individual design style and ethics, resulting in many successful careers within the fashion industry.
Barbara has spent her adult life living away from Germany, but returned to her home town of Munich during the lockdown in 2020. Her curiosity for finding out the craft, art, culture and community life has directed her interests and given her the sensitivity to develop a culturally aware approach to fashion design, craftsmanship and production. Her explorations of Bavaria since returning home have triggered research into local crafts and historical clothing resulting in her first eponymous brand and her Alpine Ballroom collection. With BARABARA she aims to celebrate the diversity of our global cultural heritage through a collaborative exchange that respects, values and creates dignified employment for the craftspeople she works with.