Bao Ta London is an independent, British luxury womenswear label, born in 2013 and sponsored by The Princes Trust. The most exquisite fabrics are sourced worldwide and all garments are hand crafted here in Britain. A truly bespoke service, every design is individually created, with hand embellishment and intricate fabrication at the forefront of the Bao Ta aesthetic.
Bao hails from Vietnam where he was raised amongst a family of dressmakers in the vibrant and colourful centre of Ho Chi Minh City. He gained his fashion education at Westminster University in London, with a BA Fashion Design. His final collection gained sponsorship by Kopenhagen Fur, and was described by the Evening Standard as; “One of the most commercial collections among the graduates came from Bao Ta who showed a keen attention to detail with much intricate pleating”.
Tell us a little about yourself and your work.
My name is Bao Ta, I am the owner and the creative director for Bao Ta London. Bao Ta London is an independent, British luxury womenswear label, sponsored by The Princes Trust. The label offers a comprehensive range of evening dresses, outerwear and separates. All my fabrics are carefully sourced and each garment is handcrafted in London. All components are chosen for each specific design to make sure that it works well with the shape and cut of the garment. I tend to use jewel tone colours within my design, and like to use a lot of fabrication, especially hand pleating, to give my garments and my brand a distinctive personal touch. A truly bespoke service, every design is individually created, with hand embellishment and intricate fabrication at the forefront of my aesthetic.
How did you get into fashion design
I have always loved fashion design, since when I was a child. My passion truly came to life when I started 6th form, and luckily my textile teachers were very supportive. Being Asian, my family wanted me to go down the more traditional route of either being a doctor, dentist or something else medical. Trying to please my family, I steered towards that career with my A-levels, but quickly realised it wasn’t for me. I sat my parents down and told them that my heart was not in it.
Who are the fashion icons that have influenced your work the most?
My fashion icon has got to be Zac Posen, he is such a genius when it comes to creating beautifully romantic pieces. From his cut to use of fabrics, he has always influenced me.
What does a typical day in your work life look like?
Each day is very different for me, that is why I love what I do.
Usually I tend to focus on something specific each day. For example, one day I would just focus on designing on paper and sketching. I’m pretty old school, so I would sketch between 100-200 designs. Then, the next day would be all about pattern cutting and draping. Playing around with the mannequin, evolving the design. Another day, I would focus on toil, see if the design works or needs tweaking before the final piece is made.
Then there are days when I go to a client’s house, or have fittings at my studio.
What’s been your highlight to date?
When I get to see all my designs that I have worked on for months worn by the models at my fashion show during London Fashion Week. Having all my friends and family support me and help me with my shows is really making my dreams become reality.
What have been your biggest challenges within the industry?
For me, it’s funding. It can be hard to find support for young designers like myself, especially specialising in evening wear. Often you find the designers that get funding have a vert edgy approach to their design, whereas I like to work on romantic designs with modern twists.
If you could change one thing about your career what would it be and why?
So far, I can;t think of anything. Maybe have a bit more insider knowledge and be more business-savvy?
Where would you like to see yourself in five years’ time?
I want to become a luxury lifestyle brand, maybe move back to new York. I just love that city, and I think my brand would do very well there, as I’m championing British heritage in my collections.
If, in some Freaky Friday-like situation, you could live the life of another fashion industry insider for a day, who would it be and why?
I would love to be in Zac Posen shoes for a day, seeing my idol at work would be priceless. Being there to witness how he works, and the way he designs.
And finally what tips would give you to an aspiring fashion designer?
It is hard work. It takes a lot of determination and drive. You have to have the hunger to get to the top, but at the same time be humble and grounded. It’s all about balance.