Fashion: The return, baba

2014-05-25 15:00

Bright, colourful African prints are hot at the moment, and there is no shortage of brands and designers that seem to be doing them.

A local label that’s getting it right is Babatunde. Started in central Johannesburg in 2009 by fashion stylist Gareth Cowden, Babatunde has grown from a five-hat and five-cap line into an experimental and fresh range of accessories for women and men.

Babatunde borrows its moniker from a name given to a male child in the Yoruba language of Nigeria and Benin. It means “father returns” or “a father has returned”.

This generally refers to a male ancestor such as a deceased father, grandfather or great-grandfather.

Cowden describes the brand as “bold, vibrant and conscious”.

This year, Babatunde caught the eye of the eighth edition of the Labo Ethnik festival in Paris. It is one of the 2014 exhibitors of the fashion and lifestyle fair that ends today.

Babatunde mixes African-inspired prints with contemporary designs in its range of hats, bags, umbrellas and neckwear.

Each product is unique due to fabric cuts and limited prints, and all products are handmade in South Africa from African fabrics. Prices range from R105 to R470.

Check out the range at

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