badibanga: Redefining Fashion’s Contemporary Uniform

Contemporary culture and heritage.

badibanga: Redefining Fashion’s Contemporary Uniform
Louis Parks

In the heart of fashion’s evolution, badibanga (Instagram) emerges as an embodiment of self-discovery and creative expression. Designed by Oscar Badibanga, a Congolese-born creative raised in Belgium, this ready-to-wear label marches onto the global stage, infusing heritage with contemporary flair.


badibanga’s inception traces back to the lineage of tailoring, resonating with Oscar’s familial roots. Despite parental apprehensions, his father’s sartorial elegance kindled a flame, igniting Oscar’s passion for fashion and craftsmanship. This collection, launching exclusively in the UAE on March 7, pays homage to ancestral wisdom and personal resilience. “The inspiration behind badibanga is more of an ode to my ancestors, the ones that somehow led me to where I am today. My grandfather was a tailor. Even though my father heavily opposed to my choice of study and career in fashion, he was one of my main style influences growing up – the way he carried and cared for himself really helped form my own love of fashion and details,” says Badibanga.

Being a designer has long been a part of Badibanga, “It has always a childhood dream somehow… As strong desire to be my own fashion superhero and create my own esthetic. It started by my love of Mangas, anime, 80’s movies, army uniforms, martial arts, modern and minimalist architecture, African culture, music and my favorite country, Japan. But the most important moment was when I went to see my father, to tell him that I wanted to study fashion and opposed to the idea and mentioned that fashion was not a job but a hobby. But during this conversation I discovered through my Mum that my grandfather was a tailor … What a surprise… From that moment, I knew.”

The designs for his first collection came from an entirely understandable point, says Badibanga, “It started from a really selfish need to have something that fits my needs when I dress during the day. I worked in fashion my whole life. So, I tend to be kind of dressed to go to work, except that I didn’t want to look overdressed or underdressed as I like to be comfortable. So, I thought about pieces that are esthetically nice and edgy and can be easily use during the day.”


Drawing inspiration from diverse cultural landscapes, badibanga encapsulates a fusion of influences. From manga and anime to minimalist architecture, each piece reflects a narrative of urban life and artistic exploration. Elevating simplicity with intricate details, the collection exudes a timeless allure, effortlessly blending comfort with style. “If I had to describe my brand, it’s an extension of myself. It reflects shapes, details, and elements inspired by what I see, and love, around me. Manga and anime, 80’s movies, army uniforms, martial arts, modern and minimalist architecture, African culture, music and my favorite country, Japan,” he says.


“My pieces have layers. When you look at a building, there is shape, there is structure. I infuse this into my own creations to give them depth. Even color – or lack thereof – plays an important role,” says the designer. Embracing a minimalist ethos, badibanga’s silhouettes redefine contemporary elegance. Oversized yet refined, each garment transcends conventional boundaries of gender and body shape. From workwear staples to utilitarian ensembles, the collection epitomizes versatility and functionality.

“My own esthetic is based on basic pieces, staples but always with a twist. I wear lots of blank t-shirts, but the most important for me is to find the right cut, choose the right size, and the detail that makes the difference. I like elevating simple silhouettes with sartorial elements that give badibanga its distinct edge. Each piece has its own identity, taking comfort and function as its main directive, all while delivering quality and meticulous craftsmanship packaged as effortless ready-to-wear,” he says.

Embedded within the fabric of badibanga lies a tapestry of stories and symbols. Subtle yet profound, these details echo Oscar’s journey of self-discovery and cultural immersion. Whether it’s the understated ‘V’ emblem inspired by Emirati kandoras or the intricate stitching reminiscent of martial arts, each element speaks volumes about identity and belonging.


“I have a quite discreet but distinctive detail on the back of each garment that is acts as my identified brand elements. There are a lot of small details that have been woven into each piece as a part of the badibanga DNA but also to mark a source of my inspiration. For example, the distinct ‘V’ shape you find on the back of one of the shirts is inspired by the kandoras worn by Emirati’s here in the UAE,” he says.


At its core, badibanga represents more than just clothing; it embodies a philosophy of individuality and self-expression. Beyond fashion, it’s a testament to the transformative power of creativity and authenticity.

Badibanga leaves us with one last tiny piece of insight into this deeply personal collection, “They all have names of friend who I either made the piece for the first time or who got obsessed by one of the pieces they saw on me. So, you will have a mix of names from different background and origins.”

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