Baba Jagne Is the Secret Tailor to the Stars
Creating a killer red carpet look involves much more than just putting on a dress. Sure, stars are sent some of the best clothes in the world — often plucked right from the runways — but if it doesn’t fit them properly, a couture dress might as well be a paper bag. Stylists and glam teams play a big role in crafting these memorable looks for the step and repeat. But the true unsung heroes of Hollywood are also the tailors. They are the quiet experts during the fittings process that give an ensemble a totally customized feel. One such tailor in Los Angeles is Baba Jagne, who has worked with clients such as Cardi B, Normani, Naomi Campbell, Saweetie, and more.
Jagne is the secret tailor to the stars worth knowing. He’s worked on looks that you’ve most definitely seen hit the red carpet or a cover of a magazine, like this viral Rolling Stone shootwith SZA, Meghan Thee Stallion, and Normani. Originally from Gambia, West Africa, Jagne learned how to make and alter clothing from his family members. “I was born into it,” he says. “My dad was a tailor and my mom was a seamstress.” He remembers even making his own elementary school uniform—and his friends’ uniforms, too. He would also help his aunt with unique fashion projects too, all of which gave him an understanding of high fashion. “My aunt had an atelier in a five-star hotel where all the tourists stayed,” he says. “They’d come in with all of these designer clothes—like a Versace dress in silk—and would ask to replicate them in African fabrics, like Ankara.”
When Jagne moved to Los Angeles around 18 years ago, he hoped to turn tailoring and designing into a full-time career, something he was eventually able to do around five years ago. “When you come from Africa, you are taught the fundamentals of garment construction,” he says. “But when you get here, you don’t actually understand how to get into the industry. So I just started by doing the one thing that I can control, which was getting a sewing machine and starting to make clothes.” Eventually, Hollywood stylists began noticing his pieces and pulling his stuff in for shoots. Chris Brown wore Jagne’s drop-crotch sweatpants on the cover of Nylon, which Jagne remembers as one of his first big celebrity.
With Hollywood productions back in action, Jagne has been busy creating looks for all sorts of other artists and shoots. He has a team of sewers to help with the growing clientele, but for the most part, he is a one-man show. This summer, he’s done custom shirts and pants for a Swae Lee video coming out soon. Jagnes also recently made a custom red birthday dress for Saweetie. When in-person red carpets were a thing, he’s also tailored a tropical Versace suitonto Normani, a Stephane Rolland dress onto Naomi Campbell, and many others. Their stylists come to him with garments, and he will quickly rework them to complement their figures, or fit their personal tastes. Whenever he has down time, he works on making his own pieces—though down time is proving harder to find. But he thrives under the pressure. “There will be times where you will be on no sleep for two or three days,” he says. “That’s the nature of the beast—and I love it all.”
His expertise in tailoring work made him a go-to for all sorts of customization work, which could mean deconstructing garments and totally re-fitting them, or doing more subtle alteration work to really make pieces pop. “I’m there to just make sure it fits, whatever it takes—even if I have to take it apart and put it back again,” he says. He has now worked with stylists such as Kollin Carter, Jason Rembert, and more to create one-of-a-kind outfits for their clients. Lately, Jagnes has been working a lot with Carter, who styles the rapper Cardi B. “She’s an amazing person to work with because she’s a very chill person. I’ve made some things for her that will come out,” he says, hinting at the release of her new music video with Megan Thee Stallion, dropping tomorrow. He also recently converted a Louis Vuitton monogrammed skirt into a top for her. “It didn’t take me no longer than four hours,” he says.