Note from BW of Brazil: Ya know, sometimes you hav’ta do a double take. Last week I came across an interview with fashion entrepreneur Ignez Bacelar, which is featured below, and I said to myself, I’ll come back and read again when I finished the article I was working on at the time. As it happened, one day became another day and eventually almost a week. In some ways, it’s not my fault. There’s so much material to be covered on Afro-Brasil that, over the years, I’ve put a lot of articles on the backburner (as I’ve acknowledged before). I’ve still got material from 3-4 years ago sitting in my archives that I never got around to publishing, so this was nothing new.
But then, just yesterday, I saw some photos of Bacelar’s African-oriented fashion line and it was an immediate “STOP THE PRESS” moment! When I looked at the beautiful sistas, the lovely smiles and the vibrant colors of the designs, I KNEW that I had to do a feature on Ignez and her Makida Afro Fashion line! In reality, I could just post the spectacular photos of the sistas rockin’ the pieces from the Makida brand. But its November, the Month of Black Consciousness here in Brazil, and as I always do pieces on Afro-entrepreneurs, it’s a great time to introduce you to Ignez and her story of leaving an unwelcoming corporate Brazil to do her own thang! So glad she did! Be sure to check out her fashion line website and most def express what you think of the apparel!
Makida Moda Afro: Bringing the beauty, elegance, and sophistication of African fabrics along with identity, representation & empowerment of Black Women
Courtesy of Central Afro and Blog da Marcy
Makida Moda Afro arose from a market need when we saw the growing demand of the Mulher Negra (Black Woman) ascending socially, professional and academic careers. To offer our professional, academic and above all intellectual ascent, nothing better than carrying with us the Empowerment, our Identity, Ancestry and generate Representation.
I’ve already brought here on the blog marcas de roupas e acessórios africanos (African clothing and accessories brands). Nós Mulheres Negras empoderadas (we Empowered Black Women) love to use something that values our aesthetic and underscores our ancestry. And representativeness is important, yes.
Unfortunately, the still very conservative corporate world receives some items from our community, such as a turban, for example with strangeness and some discomfort. Thus, Makida Moda Afro comes to blend the exquisite beauty of African fabrics, adding a touch of elegance, sophistication and good taste in traditional clothing, to value this Empowerment of Black Women even more, as well as our Identity.
Our idea is to make our history, ancestry and struggle immortal, and remind everyone that when we speak of the Mulher Negra, we speak of resilience, perseverance, diversity, pride, splendor and altruism. We talk especially about Love.
Our fabrics are originally imported from the African Continent.
We want you to know our virtual store by accessing.
www.makidamoda.com.br and “curtam” (like) our page at
Meet Ignez, a graduate of the first class of UniPalamares and an entrepreneur of afro fashion
Former student of the first class of Zumbi dos Palmares College and owner of Makida, a brand focused on afro fashion
Courtesy of AfroBrasileiros.net
Ignez talks about her experience at Zumbi dos Palmares College, the importance of her academic background and also about her perceptions about the empowerment of black women.
Her Makida brand is one of the pioneers in perceiving a growing demand in Brazil: that of producing clothes that emphasize the tradition of the African root. Through the typical prints and strong colors, the dresses and skirts gain the identity of black women who are rarely seen in fashion.
Afrobrasileiros: You are a former student of Zumbi dos Palmares College. Looking back, what is the significance of having graduated in the first group of the first institution focused on the inclusion of blacks in higher education?
Ignez Bacelar: Well, I recognized Zumbi dos Palmares not only as a college, but also as the project of a better future for the população negra (black population). I believed in the dream and through Zumbi I had wonderful opportunities and experiences. Zumbi was not only a watershed in the academic and professional, but especially social and personal. I have my best friends, people, stories and amazing memories from that time. All very positive.
Afrobrasileiros: What has changed in your life after this experience?
Ignez Bacelar: I was reflected in all spaces, in the rooms, in the teachers, in the students. I recognized myself as an evolving black woman and began to draw an ascending line in my life project.
Afrobrasileiros: Fortunately, a theme that is increasingly gaining space for discussion and visibility is empowerment through the valorization of black aesthetics. We see it both in the hair and the way of dressing, accessories and so on. How do you see this issue?
Ignez Bacelar: I believe that the aesthetic question is very important because we have had our self-esteem destroyed forever. We (black women) must recognize ourselves as beautiful, intelligent, and deserving of being loved and recognized for our work and not being caught by the “imposter syndrome.” It takes persistence and a lot of confidence. Still, I believe the change must be much deeper. Either way, one step does not eliminate the other. May we strengthen ourselves more and more.
AfroBrasileiros: You are the founder of the Makida women’s clothing brand, which is aimed at black women. It brings prints and models that converse with the self-affirmation of blackness and valorization of aesthetics. How did this idea come about?
Ignez Bacelar: The idea started from my experience in the corporate world, which is still so square and traditional even though we have some more flexible environments. I went to work in a multinational with a turban and the environment got visibly heavy, it seemed that it didn’t fit me and that it was not my place, even though I was a specialized professional. That day I felt bad and I had a conversation with my fiancé and today I am a member of the Makida who felt a lack of being able to display my identity in these environments. I didn’t want to feel a “zero to the left”. A year and a half later, when I left this company, I decided that I would not go back to the corporate environment because I had the impression that no matter how we prepare, they will never be prepared for us. I knew I was going to undertake, I just did not know yet where. We thought about some business options and that old idea came back hard, my fiancé decided to enter the partnership and four months after leaving work we were launching our first collection. It was the biggest and best decision of my life.
AfroBrasileiros: What is it like to be an entrepreneurial black woman?
Ignez Bacelar: I believe that undertaking is in the veins of pessoas negras (black people), especially of mulheres negras who in the midst of difficulty find a way to survive. I undertook by opportunity but also by necessity since I would not like to return to the corporate world, so toxic in my opinion. So, it was the best choice in every way and to do a job especially aimed at the black woman fills my heart with joy. It is very difficult, but my partner and (business) partner is incredible and is with me in every difficulty and also in the victories.
Afrobrasileiros: The models of clothing and accessories bring prints and models that speak to the self-affirmation of blackness and the valorization of black aesthetics. How do you work with a form of representativeness?
Ignez Bacelar: Makida was born from my perception of the corporate world, which today is said (to be) so open, but still very traditional. We were born to rescue and value the beauty and identity of black women in these environments. And, good to realize that we are on the right track. The feedbacks have been incredible.
Afrobrasileiros: What message would you leave for the new generation of women, who are now growing with more discussion about racial, empowerment and aesthetics?
Ignez Bacelar: Persevere always, resilience is in our blood, we should not believe that because there has been some progress we must park. There is a lot of work ahead and today there are still spaces of discussions in the very shallow media. Only we know how much our self-esteem has moved throughout this period and how important it is to value our aesthetics, but especially what comes from within, knowing our history and spreading it to our children. That’s why the clothing models on the site have Rainhas Africanas (African Queen) names, when you click on the piece you know part of the Queen’s story, the change we want is from the inside out. Our ancestry and spirituality must be remembered.