Babatunde is a 100% local accessories brand making fashionable use of traditional African wax prints. The idea for the label came about when founder and fashion stylist Gareth Cowden travelled to Gabon in 2007.
He says, “I loved the way the people there embraced and used prints in everyday attire. After moving back from London in 2009 I was thinking of different ways of making money. Through styling I knew a hat manufacturer and considered that I had never seen headwear made up with West African prints. I then thought about the concept of current accessories in African prints.”
Babatunde launched in July 2010 with a range of hats and caps but has since grown into a concept brand including new headwear styles, ties, bow ties, cravats, umbrellas, handbags, and sleeves for iPads and laptops. Gareth says the brand will continue to develop new products.
The word Babatunde is a Yoruba (Nigerian) name and translates to ‘the father returns’. The brand stands for strong African values and the progression of Africa through Afrocentrism. Each product is unique due to fabric cuts as well as limited prints. It’s good to know all the fabrics are purchased in Africa and all the manufacturing takes place in South Africa with various manufacturers based in Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Babatunde has featured in just about all local publications as well as Italian Vogue, the Financial Times ‘How to spend it’ Magazine and Conde Nast Traveller, to name a few, ever getting closer to the goal of representing Africa as a global brand. Other goals for the brand are to increase and improve the textile and clothing manufacture industry in Africa, and to grow exports out of South Africa.
Visit www.babatundestyles.com to see all they offer.
Photographer: Ed Blignaut
Stylist: Gareth Cowden
Make-Up: Noni Moose
Models: Mosa Koele and Mpumelelo Mfula