Aisha Baker: 'Fashion is not futile it's so important!'
Fashion blogging has over the years formed a major part in influencing the fashion space, with some bloggers making a lucrative career out of what started off as a hobby. One such influencer, Aisha Baker grew her brand widely to becoming internationally recognized, having had attended the New York Fashion Week, she continues to reinvent herself. We took some time out to speak to the fashionista to get to know her more.
Q: How would you best describe what you do?
A: It's hard to describe what I do without listing the primary and secondary portions of my exciting career. Primarily I am a fashion and beauty blogger – with that title I am also a content producer, CEO, script writer, marketing director, accountant, you name it. I do it all to run this passion of mine that has flourished into a career path. As my success with my blogging platform increases so do the parameters of my job description.
Q: What are your fashion interests that inspired you to venture into such a career?
A: At first my blog was merely an escape from my studies, I had begun my 5 year long journey to receiving my bachelors degree in management studies. As the years went by the blogging industry had evolved internationally and locally. Seven years later it has become my career, focused around sharing my personal style and beauty expertise with my loyal following.
Q: Describe your fashion taste?
A: What I love about fashion is that there is an element of trendiness which we marry with our personal style. After attending New York fashion Week my style, which continually evolves, has shifted to what I consider high end, more daring and risky. I think we are afraid to take risks as South Africans which I wish we did more of. So right now I am hoping to inspire others to do the same in their personal style.
Q: What does fashion mean in this day and age?
A: Fashion is a form of expression and largely determines your identity and status in your community. It's more than just clothing it's a lifestyle.
Q: Describe the fashion scene in South Africa at the moment?
A: I think it is still a bit stale and that has to do a lot with retail spaces not stocking trends on time. I would love to see more local fashion designers take advantage of local influencers to enrich the style of South Africa as a whole. Retailer should collaborate with local designers like Rich Mnisi, who could easily own a string of boutiques in New York with his brilliant work, and showcase talent to a mainstream audience or else we will start to lose our talent to other nations. We are kind of an untapped market right now which is exciting and provides many opportunities to grow.
Q: And what does fashion mean to you?
A: It has always been my first love because it celebrates the extraordinary and the outlier, and as an industry it often makes political statements. I love seeing how designers unify us through their work – lately design houses like Yeezy and Fendi have featured hijabi model Halima for example. Walking the runway in their designs but still respecting both the Islamic culture. This is a huge statement as Muslims find themselves disenfranchised globally, but fashion decided to welcome them and make being Muslim or rather "different" cool and trendy. This has brought on so much positive changes globally – we are now seeing Nike launch their first Nike Pro hijab, including the Muslim community in their brand strategy. Fashion is not futile it's so important.
Q: What inspires your fashion taste?
A: People and places! Traveling enriches my style and alters it in an interesting way. It's become an important part of staying up to date with what's trending globally.
Q: How does your day-to-day look like?
A: No day is the same for me, I really don't have a routine or a 'normal' day. I try to wake up at 8am everyday and go to bed at 11:30pm. My day could range from anything to meetings, shoots or content planning. Recently I've spent a lot of time strategies and building new intellectual properties to add to my existing brand as well as diversify it.
Q: What do you never go a day without doing?
A: I never go a day without checking my phone. Ever!
Q: What are some of the big things that you are working on currently?
A: I am working on expanding my brand over the next three years to include a series of properties which will give the brand sustainability beyond just me. I want Baked to live independently to me eventually so we can grow and continue to inspire women beyond just digital and create job opportunities for young upcoming creatives.
Q: Your childhood fashion memories?
A: I definitely had and still do have a few outfits I feel like are both hits and misses. In retrospect I think I have always been trendy naturally which probably stemmed from my love for fashion in general. I inherited both my name and my affinity for what's trendy and fashionable from my grandmother. I spent a lot of time wanting to be just like her and she was probably my first inspiration.
Q: Biggest motivator in life?
A: Lately I have become comfortable with being my own motivational force; that being setting measurable and small goals for myself and commending myself when I achieve them. In terms of support systems, my family really keeps me going, specifically my husband. He is very ambitious and it motivates me to be the same.