South African clothing brand Butan Wear takes the world by storm

South African clothing brand Butan Wear takes the world by storm

Fashion designer Julian Kubel and his team of innovative designers are creating magic together and with their fresh and original ideas they have taken the South African street wear brand Butan Wear to amazing heights.

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Butan Wear is a local label that has been turning into one of South Africa's most popular brands. The brand is strongly associated with hip-hop and boasts with fresh and original designs.

Julian Kubel, the designer behind the brand has first created the Butan Wear label after he graduated in 2006 from the University of Cape Town. Funny enough, he got his degree in engineering and not anything fashion related.

The Butan Wear brand is proud to be about everything African rather than limiting their designs to only hip-hop, rap or the youth.

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Kubel never thought that what he considered nothing more than a "T-shirt project" would take off in such a big way.

The brand may have started off as a hip-hop inspired street wear brand, but it has grown and transformed into something with more depth and complexity.

Kubel remembers he was just a scholar when he created his first T-shirt.

The first ever T-shirt was created with a home-made iron-on print in 2001. I was simply a school kid, wanting to print a couple of T-shirts that truly represented a hip-hop lifestyle with a distinctly local edge.
If you take a look at our brand today, you can't help but notice the Afro-centric signature that runs through all of our collections. Undeniably, hip-hop culture still serves as one of our inspirations but it is African narratives, culture and heritage that we aim to proliferate through our designs.

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In 2006 Butan Wear became available commercially and from there the brand really took off.

There is a whole team of designers behind the brand and Kubel is the creative director leading the design process.

Most of our T-shirts are manufactured locally but our garments that make use of heavyweight, fairly specialised, fabrics we source from overseas.

Celebrity ProVerb became an ambassador for Butan Wear in 2008. More and more celebs are being spotted wearing Kubel's brand.

It's really humbling to see. The relationship with ProVerb came about from taking a long shot and sending an e-mail to Rage Productions (The Production House responsible for Head Rush, a show ProVerb was hosting back in 2008) asking them if we could send him some garments.
To our surprise, they got back to us and we sent him some of our gear. He's been in love with our brand ever since and we cherish our relationship to this day.


Kubel and his team would love for the Butan Wear brand to reach even more people in more countries.

We have definitely considered taking the brand outside the borders of our country. We receive regular online store orders from across the globe and the demand is growing. It's our distinct African aesthetic that sets us apart from overseas brands and is gaining increasing popularity.
We've been invited to various international trade shows and hope to start embarking on this journey in the near future.

Looking at the designs they look like they were inspired by the new Black Panther film, but Kubel denies any link to the film.

The range is definitely not inspired by the movie. The Hidden Panther is in fact inspired by the Black Panther political movement of the 1960's. The reason we dubbed our range Hidden Panther is because we believe that not everyone is made to be an activist but deep inside most of us have a hidden panther, seeking to make a difference in the world.

According to Kubel, the label's first collection didn't have any actual theme.

It was just a bunch of heavily hip-hop-inspired T-shirt graphics. The brand has thankfully experienced a tremendous evolution since. Now, all our collections are heavily themed and aim to carry a strong narrative.

Fans of the brand have praised them on social media:

The Kuban Wear brand has certainly grown since its first days and it seems that this label is heading for international acclaim.

Watch the Top Model South Africa: 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Melissa Magiera video and others on Briefly South Africa's YouTube channel.

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