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TOUBAB PARIS

A baby in her mother’s womb in West Africa, Maud Villaret - the French designer behind Toubab Paris - has always felt a deep attachment to her earth mother, Africa.

Resolved to focus on the theme of travel in her work, it was there that she headed shortly after her graduation from design school. African at heart but visibly a stranger, Maud was soon nicknamed ‘toubab’ - a term that has come to denote a foreigner in West Africa.

Inspired by her transformational experience, Maud began revisiting traditional African textiles - combining them with other unexpected materials from all corners of the world to create one-of-a-kind, cutting-edge designs. Ode to the brand’s multicultural ethos, Toubab Paris became a natural choice for the name.

THE INTERVIEW

What are the 5 things you cannot live without?

Sun. Colors. Music. Dance. Fabrics!

Your favorite quote?

“You find your path by the joy it brings you.” Aristotle

Who would you love to wear your pieces?

Not anyone in particular. Colors lovers. Human rights defenders. People who are open minded, positive and always smiling. Those who dream for a better world.

Where would you go in a time machine?

I would have liked to [go to] the aborigines in Australia; I’ve always found their paintings fascinating. Or to a tribe in Euthopia, for example.

What does being an Urban Nomad mean to you?

For me, an Urban Nomad is dynamic and curious. Someone who looks to experience, discover and travel more. Someone who takes pride in their multiethnic roots while fitting in perfectly into the urban and trendy lifestyle.

What's one cause that you would want people to rally behind?

There are so many ... it’s very difficult to chose just one!

Women’s health and rights particularly appeal to me. I [Toubab Paris] have already partnered with Amref Health; the 1st public NGO in Africa to improve the health of African communities, particularly women and children through midwife training.

I am working on a partnership with a small organization, which helps women dyers in Africa. And I would like to work against female circumcision.

On a personal level, I also donate to Green Peace and another association for [preservation of] the bees and the environment.

I am sensitive to issues concerning people and the environment. By respecting and helping others in one way or another, we are respecting ourselves. The differences between us enable us to enrich ourselves. We learn a lot about ourselves when we open our hearts to others. It’s important. Too many values are replaced by individualism, under the pressure of our mercantile societies. What’s our way of life for all?

All photos courtesy of Toubab Paris

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