We chatted to Papama Ramogase, Fashion Director at DESTINY magazine and Founder and Creative Director of Butter Pudding, a children’s clothing store at new Joburg retail development Work Shop New Town.
How did Butter Pudding come about?
Butter Pudding has been in my head and heart for the past seven years. It was borne out of a love for creating simple, yet beautiful things. When I had my first child five years ago, I realised that there was a gap in the kiddies apparel market for something unique, yet affordable. If I wanted something special for her, I had to shop overseas or if I found it here at home, it was exorbitantly priced. The idea started out small, and it just got bigger and bigger until I had no choice but to make it come to life. It’s been a labour of love.
And the name?
The name reflects my love for simplicity in design. Butter Pudding is a dessert that’s made of the simplest ingredients (bread, egg, milk and butter) that you always have at home – but when you mix them up something amazingly delicious comes out! Our items are made up of simple designs made out of stunning fabrics (infused with love) and the result is something extraordinary.
Why was Work Shop New Town the right place for your first store?
As a new brand that hadn’t official launched yet, it made sense for us to be in good company. The workshop has uber cool brands like MaXhosa, Kisua, Maria McCloy, Pichulik to count a few. Who wouldn’t want to share a space with them?
Were you approached to be a part of this new development?
A few months before, I had gone to the launch of the concept, where Trevyn McGowan was presenting the idea to media and relevant stakeholders. I remember telling my friend who was with me how exciting it all sounded and how much I would love to be part of it. Butter Pudding was still an idea on paper then. Little did I know that a few months later, I would receive an email from Trevyn asking me to consider opening a store there. Never underestimate the power of thought and words!
What do you love about the design of the development?
It’s a creative hub with like-minded brands and individuals on the same mission – to take the South African design landscape to new heights. I’m all for it!
What pulls the concept of Work Shop New Town together?
It’s pulled together by the fact that the goods are all locally created, which definitely appeals to me.
Who does Butter Pudding cater to?
Currently, we cater for two to eight year olds for both boys and girls, with a substantial unisex offering. Our clothes are always chic, yet comfy and practical because we believe style should always be functional. It’s the antithesis of logo-branded clothes. It’s for those who seek individuality and magic; who want, like we do, the personalities of their children to shine through their clothes, not compete with it.
Do you follow trends or are they more classic items?
Classic and timeless with a touch of nostalgia. We use gingham in every collection. We always use great quality fabrics to ensure that the items wash well and that you can hand them down to siblings.
Do you do all the designs yourself?
Yes, I do. It’s my happy place. Many people don’t know this, but I trained as a designer, I actually studied it at Wits Tech (now UJ).
What influences you?
Where do I start? Absolutely everything: nature, my kids, love, colour and beautiful fabrics. I’m the kind of designer that has to find the fabric first, then the designs come flooding, not the other way round as I was taught at design school.
Who produces the clothes for you?
I work with a CMT (cut, make and trim) owned and run by a humble and kind man called Albert Makoya. It’s a small and intimate operation, and that’s the way I like it. We just get each other. Attention to detail is of paramount importance to us. All our items are made in South Africa, deliberately so. We want to keep the rand in SA and help alleviate poverty.
How much did your children influence the brand?
What ever I produce, my daughter, Kwezi (5) – who has a very particular style – has to be able to wear it. She fits all our samples and is part of all our campaigns. Rori (1) is still too young to get involved, but as soon as she turns two, she also needs to earn her keep. I also have a plethora of godchildren (five in total) and I run each collection by them before anyone else sees it. If they don’t like a style, we don’t produce it. They are at all the photoshoots, helping me style the looks. I call them my creative board of directors. These sessions are always very interesting and fun because they’re very honest.
Which items do your kids love to wear the most?
The Africa is the Future tee and the cocoon dress are definite favourites.
What’s next for Butter Pudding? We have huge plans. We are currently preparing to supply a super cool concept store called Ants in Parkhurst. We will also be supplying African Design Emporium at OR Tambo International Airport (in International Departures) and we’ll be launching our e-commerce site. We are also about to launch the exciting Africa is the Future campaign, featuring some of SA’s influential figures. And that’s just in the first quarter of this year! For the rest, watch this space