Designer Spotlight: Tribal Customs by Malik Mbaye

by Crystal Anokam

Coco Chanel once said, “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” I am a firm believer in these words. We as humans are living, breathing pieces of art. We are canvases, every experience, mistake, memory and moment of our life is added to our story – it is added to our imperfectly perfect work of art. I hail from Maryland and decided to place the spotlight on a designer close to home. Malik Mbaye is an 18 year old Fashion designer hailing from Bowie, Maryland. He is the sole proprietor of Tribal Customs with the head Apparel Line, Genesis by Malik Mbaye. He launched the company in 2012 with his friend, Okikiola Mogaji on a whim by making custom pants with tribal prints from their African countries and gluing them on the interior of Levi denim; from there, the ship was sailed and the seed was planted. In the following year, Malik released his official debut line in the winter of 2013 which contained almost seven collections. He was able to juggle the growth of his company in addition to the tedious amount school work which consisted of AP classes, college application, and his partner leaving him.

Malik is a firm believer that fashion is an art of expression and he never fails to execute such belief in his daily life. Mbaye’s number one inspiration is himself. In an interview with Today’s Hype, Malik stated:

"When I dress up my goal is not to emulate anyone but to express myself artistically. Tribal Customs is a constant reminder to always stay true to yourself and invest your all into your endeavors. Because that's the only way you can thrive. If your intentions are pure and your actions genuine there is no way the universe won't reward you for your efforts. So all the publicity and hype and love we get from supporters all over the world is the greatest thing ever, there's nothing better than tangible results and gratification for something you put your heart in."

Just two years later, and with the anniversary of the company happening a few days ago, Tribal Customs has grown so much and has become a global company. “This growth wouldn’t have been possible without the tremendous support of his clientele,” Mbaye says, “I am forever grateful.” The latest collection was released a month ago with an editorial that featured Glyn Brown and the “King of SoHo,” Luka Sabbat. Malik Mbaye is a freshman at Howard University studying Finance and continues to build an empire doing what he loves : Fashion and Business.

Keep up with Malik Mbaye and the growth of Tribal Customs by following Tribal Customs on Twitter @TribalCustomsCo and Instagram @TribalCustoms , as well as Tumblr at Also, don’t forget to visit the company’s website: