FASHION SPOTLIGHT : Babatunde Designs (Gareth Cowden)

Somebody say ‘Pan African’ Fashion! and ‘Babatunde’ will appear. No Babatunde is not a person in this situation .. :D, it’s the name of a fashion collection founded by  Gareth Cowden in 2009.Gareth Cowden, born in Springs but grew up in Randburg, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa.  . Although all his fashion items are made locally, Gareth has grown his brand not only in SA but all over the world with the likes of Solange Knowles wearing his designs. The line consists of varied fashion items including bow and skinny ties, clutches, umbrellas, laptop/iPad sleeves, 5 panel caps, hair bows, ladies cravats and more.

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How interesting to be from South Africa and name his collection, a Yoruba (Nigerian) name – ‘Babatunde’ – Gareth says of the origin of his brand name in an OkayAfrica 2011 interview:

Babatunde is a Yoruba name. The direct translation in English means: ” The father comes back” or ” the father returns.” I loved the name and meaning as I feel that we need more fathers in Africa. Africa needs men to behave like men and take more responsibility for their families, Africa’s growth and also themselves.




Here is the recently released 2014 collection with fabrics sourced from Ghana and Benin. Of the new collection Cowden states,

 “We’ve sourced materials and prints that have the energy, dignity and playfulness of the people who made them.” “It’s why we exist, to express our love for Africa in something the whole world can appreciate. We are original because Africa is original, we just translate it into a language the modern world can understand and enjoy. We believe Africa is worth protecting – we do it by celebrating what’s beautiful about it. We stand for strong family values and all that is truly African.

A few of my favs from the Babatunde 2014 LookBook – fun, fresh and edgy.

2014 Look Book





Full collection here . From a previous collection is a beach umbrella, caps and handbags line , and here’s a few in my favorite colors

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For more information on the brand, please visit the
Website at

 If anything, I would hope that Babatunde can change the world’s opinion that Africa is a rural, traditional and backward continent. Hopefully we can show people around the globe that Africa is a progressive, creative, and contemporary design force and encourage the world to support Africa through buying African products rather than egotistical debt relief programmes. Or is that too harsh? – Gareth Cowden to OkayAfrica

Beautifully Dreaming.. Positively Doing..



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