BUTAN: Voted BEST LOCAL BRAND at The SA Hip Hop Awards…#NuffSaid

We get in a few words with Butan, who were voted Best Local Brand at the recent SAHHA.

1. When was Butan formed and what does it represent?

Julian Kubel, the founder of the brand, printed his first T-shirt in 2001 with an iron-on kit but the brand only officially became commercially available in 2006. The brand represents the rich tapestry of the African continent, paying tribute to its influence on contemporary African youth. Every garment is the manifestation of the ideas and aspirations of our generation, our infinite potential and our heritage.

2. Which local artists mainly rock the gear?

We officially dress: ProVerb, Driemanskap, Slikour, Kwesta and a few other upcoming MCs. Butan is very popular among artists and you’ll see quite a few well known rappers rocking Butan as their brand of choice.

3. Tell us about the new striped: ‘License to ill’ gear?

The striped top you are referring to is called “Earn Your Stripes” and is a men’s vest with an allover zebra print with minimal branding. This garment is part of our “Heed The Call” range which focuses on using elements from the animal kingdom and aims to explore the “wild” side of human beings. The range explores the role of the human being as an integral part of nature as opposed to our general perception of humans existing “above” or separate from the natural world. The “Licensed to ill” top is a men’s vest with a print inspired by a logo that was used by the Beastie Boys for their 1987 “Licensed to ill” tour. We love using iconic references from popular culture and more specifically golden era hip hop. The year 1981, which is featured on this item as well as on most of our other garments, is the year Julian (Butan’s founder) was born. 1981 for us signifies the beginning of the brand’s journey.

4. What does the future hold for Butan? Any new exciting projects?

The future is looking bright and full of exciting new possibilities and opportunities. We are about to launch a colab range that should definitely get people talking. We are also planning some sick photo shoots, new ranges and events for the New Year. Not much to reveal as yet; just watch this space!

5. Can the Youth urban movement get access to the gear anywhere in SA?

Our gear is available in most major cities in SA, as well as Botswana. We stock the following retailers:


Shesha – Sandton

Shesha – The Zone

Shesha – The Glen

Shesha – Eastgate

Mafia Soul – Milpark Gallery

Mafia Soul – Campus Square

Revolution – Cresta

Revolution – Festival Mall

Ritual Stores – Newtown

Dope Store – City


Shesha – Menlyn

Revolution – Menlyn


Shesha – Canal Walk

Revolution – Long Street

Shelflife – Loop Street (December – January /featured designer)


Black Concepts – Parliament Street


Mafia Soul Stores

For peeps that live far away from any of our physical outlets, our online store is a stress-free shopping alternative: visit www.butanstore.com and find out how easy it is to cop our gear online.

6. How many years has Butan been around?

Technically speaking, taking the first ever Butan iron-on T-shirt as the starting point of the brand, we have been around for over 10 years, but looking at commercial availability, we have been in the game for 6 years now.

7. Is Butan a “movement” or just a mere “clothing brand?”

Butan is definitely a movement. As our brand philosophy states: “Butan is more than just a clothing label, it’s an integral part of street culture”. We feel that Butan has evolved alongside street culture and that the brand’s DNA is closely linked with everything that happens within it. Butan is not just a logo on a T-shirt; it’s a philosophy and a way of life.

Bridgette Makhela

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