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Made in Soweto Mama’s Boy crochet hats are stealing hearts

A mother-son duo remind us that in life, we wear many hats, and that everyone has a story to tell. For Simphiwe Ismael Khumalo and his mother Tulisile Jaqueline Radebe, their crochet hat brand, Mama’s Boy carries profound significance. Simphiwe, who is the founder and creative director, says the name embraces a personal journey and dismantles stereotypes. “Growing up without a father figure, I was always by my mom’s side. People used to call me ‘mama’s boy’ as if it were a bad thing, but I chose to redefine it,” he explains.

“Being a mama’s boy is a beautiful thing, and it celebrates the strength and power of mothers. I want everyone to embrace that love and affection.” His mother, Tulisile Jaqueline Radebe, initially had reservations about the name. “What will people think?” she says. But Simphiwe’s vision was clear – to empower and uplift the term “mama’s boy” and show the world the profound love and respect between a mother and her son.

While the fast fashion industry has a reputation for thoughtless mass production, Simphiwe and Tulisile’s foray into fashion shows craft’s potential for drawing attention to the social fabric of our time: in South Africa, it has been estimated that more than 40% of mothers are single parents. “What sets us apart is that each of our customers feels unique,” says Simphiwe. “Our hats are one-of-one, crafted specifically for individuals.” The hats’ unique shapes become an extension of the wearers’ characters, adding a touch of playfulness to their style.

Challenging conventions, Mama’s Boy cleverly places its tags on the outside of the hats, drawing attention and sparking curiosity. “We want people to question the norm and see our hats as not just accessories, but stories waiting to be told,” Simphiwe says. Describing the brand as “fun, playful, and unique,” Mama’s Boy aims to tell captivating stories about families, communities, and friendships in and around Soweto. As Mama’s Boy continues to crochet its way into hearts, it serves as a reminder that sustainable fashion can go beyond style.

It can become a vessel for storytelling, empowerment, and embracing the uniqueness of its wearer. With Tulisile and Simphiwe leading the way, this family-rooted brand is not just creating hats; it’s weaving a tapestry of love, acceptance, and joy in the streets of Soweto. These hats symbolize the diverse roles Simphiwe’s mother has played, including that of a single mother raising two sons. The passion and love she pours into her craft are evident in every stitch, making each piece a genuine reflection of her joyful spirit and artistic flair.—

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