A mutual love of fashion and friendship led to the launch of French lifestyle brand ba&sh, 14 years ago. Now stocked in over 400 stores internationally, including five standalone shops in the UK, the ba&sh vision remains distinctly Parisian, offering women worldwide a feminine wardrobe for every occasion.
"We wanted to do something together – we met the year of our final exam and since then we have never left each other," cofounder Sharon Krief explains to me at the Ibiza home of her business partner and best friend, Barbara Boccara. "We've been best friends forever, you know. Then one day after we were studying, we both got married and we had kids and we started to get bored. So we said, 'What can we do now? We want to do something together, what can we do?' We were brainstorming and suddenly we realised something was missing in the market. We always liked fashion, we were not fashion addicts, but we always liked fashion. And we said 'Okay, it’s missing something'." And thus ba&sh was born. Timeless, effortless, laid-back and yet still chic, ba&sh clothing encapsulates the insouciance and understated elegance that has made us all fans of French girls and their inimitable style for decades.
"At the time, 14 years ago, only Zara and brands like that were very cheap. Then there were very high, expensive brands, but in the middle there was nothing. And so we decided to create this brand, that we called 'ba&sh'," Sharon continues. In case you hadn't yet worked it out, the name was formed when the two founders and joined-at-the-hip best friends merged their names.
Since the brand began, almost 15 years ago, 'affordable luxury' and the mid market has boomed, particularly in France with brands such as Rouje, Sézane, Sandro and Maje rising to prominence. So what sets ba&sh apart in this now-competitive arena? Well, what's clear from spending time with the ba&sh team at Barbara's home (where each collection is conceived) is the infectious energy and warmth, bohemian spirit and unintimidating sophistication that emanates from everyone in the ba&sh family, as well as from the clothing itself. "We want to be feminine, sexy, feel good in our clothes and so the quality is very important for us to feel good," Sharon asserts. "When we created ba&sh, we knew that we would spend more time in work than in the house. So we decided we wanted ba&sh to be a company where everyone would feel good, and we still have people who have been working with us since the beginning. We made it with our hearts."
Whether it's a slogan tee you're into (we're particularly fond of the 'Femme Fatale' shirt), a floaty print dress, a metallic mini-skirt or cigarette jeans, the AW17 ba&sh collection has something for everyone.
"It’s the best one! Every collection, Barbara and I say 'it’s the best one' but all the people working with us always know that the latest one is the one we like the best. The inspiration is always the same. You have clothing for parties, you have clothing for a romantic dinner at night, you have clothes for work. All moments of life for a woman."
Inspiration aside, who are Sharon and Barbara's style heroes? "We love Kate Moss. She’s sexy, feminine, hippy. Romy Schneider, the French actress? We love her! Jane Birkin when she was young. That kind of girl, who is sometimes feminine, sometimes cool or hippy. A woman with a strong personality, but very 'woman' at the same time. We hope to make a collection with people we love, that touches every generation!" Sign us up.