See things differently.

Hello readers! I am back with the final post in my three part series on South African designers. The company featured in this post has an ethical approach to creating fashion, but also experiments with innovative uses of materials. While I saved this company for last, they are certainly not the least favorite among the South African designers I learned about this summer.

While exploring the Watershed artisan market in Cape Town, it was the stylish sunglasses and “Sustainable Gangster” tee that first caught my eye in this store. Ballo creates their handmade eyewear from recycled or upcycled wood, hemp, and African fabric materials.

Ballo Wood Frame Sunglasses

You may be wondering how wood could be manipulated to make a product comfortable enough to wear as eyewear (I certainly was curious). Well, Ballo created a material they call, Eyewood.  It is a combination of wood veneer offcuts, sourced from local furniture producers, bio-resin and recycled paper. The result is durable and stylish eyewear with a comfortable fit.

Ballo African Fabric Sunglasses

Ballo Polarized African Fabric Sunglasses -$209

Ballo started  in 2013 with eyewear, but has expanded over the years to offer other unisex goods, which are made locally to support job creation. Here are my favorites from their slow fashion collection.

Ballo Sustainable Gangster Tshirt

Ballo Sustainable Gangster Tshirt – $40

The Sustainable Gangster tee and the T-dress are made from hemp and organic cotton.

Ballo Womens Tshirt Dress

Ballo T-dress – $90

Ballo makes jewelry as well, like the wood and African print earrings I purchased below. Unfortunately, the wood earrings are not yet available online, but the other items in this post are available for purchase on their website.


I hope you have enjoyed this series on South African fashion and discovered some new designers to add to your wardrobe. It is the end of summer in the states and I’ll be sharing my fall staples, including a few new indie designers with ethical clothing lines.

2 Comments on “South African Designer Series Part III – Sustainable and Ethical Fashion with Ballo

  1. I bought two pairs of glasses in cape town 10/13 I live in the U.S.A. put a pair on to wear and the handle of one pair of glasses is broken. The salesman assure me that if they were to get damaged or lost that they would be replaced. I spend all that money and have not had a chance to enjoy the glasses, what do I do now. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


    • So sorry to hear that Rosalind! I am not affiliated with the company. I hope you are able to get your glasses repaired.


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