Born in Guinea, West Africa, Thierno Baldé moved to New York City in 2008 to attend high school. Just a few years later, the fourth-year digital media management major is founder, CEO
and creative director of Comme Baldé, his very own fashion company.
Baldé found his passion for fashion design while working retail in SoHo and started designing clothes shortly after. He exhibited his first works at an Envied Fashions show on campus and officially launched Comme Baldé in 2013.
All of the clothes at Comme Baldé are hand-made and put together by a tailor in New York City. Baldé touts his design as clothing for his generation.
“It’s designed for millennials, for people looking for something that is simple yet sophisticated,” Baldé said.
In the fashion world, Baldé is currently just a little fish in a very large pond. But he doesn’t expect that to be the case for very long. Although his company is still in its infancy, Baldé plans to expand his brand at a rapid rate. Baldé said he wants to grow his brand to the point where it is competing with some of his biggest fashion influences, Alexander Wang and Balmain, two high-end, high profile brands that are well known in the industry.
“I’m not afraid of competing, I love the competition,” Baldé said. “I wanna be that guy who people are afraid of, the person who people in the industry say, ‘That’s a guy who’s on the come up, watch out for him.’”
Baldé believes that if all goes well, he can compete with distinguished fashion brands within five years.
“I know it seems very close to now,” Baldé said. “But when I look at how far I’ve come on my own in the past few years, it doesn’t seem impossible.”
Baldé credits many of his classes at SUNY New Paltz for helping him launch and expand his company. He wrote his initial business plan, which included his mission statement, vision, marketing strategy and budget in his media convergence class. In his media research class, he learned about how to appeal to the younger generation of shoppers and in his advertising and marketing classes he learned how he could actually reach this audience.
“Every class I take is somehow applicable to my brand,” he said. “I’ve learned so much about how to market to an audience, how to make my brand stand out.”
Baldé wanted to make sure everything about his brand was appealing, even down to its name: Comme Baldé. Comme is a French preposition that translates in English to ‘like.’
“Whatever I create is something I would wear,” Baldé said. “So ‘Comme Baldé’ means ‘Like Baldé.’”
The company has kept Baldé very busy, as he runs nearly all of the operation himself.
“It’s hard, there’s so much stuff that goes into the business,” Baldé said. “It’s not just about making the clothes, you have to plan photoshoots, plan social media, blog about your brand.”
Baldé borrows his favorite expression from Nike: Just Do It. He feels that everyone should do something they are passionate about rather than wait and lose their opportunity.
“If you give up on your dream, what are you going to do, sit around and think about it?” Baldé said. “You don’t know how it will work out, but you have to go for it.”
Comme Baldé currently offers a few items on its online store, consisting of cotton and denim shirts, but Baldé said more items will be available in February or March when he launches his Spring collection. Clothes and additional information are available at commebalde.com.