Event Recap: Nelson Mandela’s 466/64 Fashion Brand Launches in US and Canada
editor’s note: While DC fashion news is our #1 priority, we decided to attend the US Launch of Nelson Mandela’s 466/64 fashion line in NYC in honor of Mr. Mandela’s humanitarian impact and now foray into the global fashion market, Nelson Mandela International Day celebrating his 94th birthday, and finally with the hope that with the line coming to the US, it will find a home here in DC.
by ATFDC Contributor Kelly Mosser
While Nelson Mandela celebrated a quiet 94th birthday at home in Qunu village with loved ones, the South African Consulate hosted an equally intimate landmark event for the new and original 466/64 Fashion, an international clothing brand inspired by the life and legacy of the iconic South African human rights leader. With fashion insiders and prominent South African natives present, the event took place in a cozy back room at the South African Consulate in New York City. After guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and caught up with friends and colleagues in the crowd, the brand held an exclusive miniature fashion show as a preview to the line. Brand executives also held a press conference, in which they named an official partnership between Dallas-based firm Company b and Brand ID, a division of South Africa’s leading clothing and textile manufacturer, resulting in a global fashion initiative.
“There is a powerful, historical nexus between our countries and their respective movements toward social justice,” said Erin Patton, CEO of Company b. “Without question, our cultures are inextricably linked by the iconic inspiration and transcendent legacy of Mr. Mandela.” The brand’s promise to go global became a reality with the announcement of 466/64 Fashion’s expansion into the United States and Canada. As of yesterday, merchandise will be offered online for a limited time at www.46664fashion.com, and will hit major retailers like Nordstrom and Bloomingdales in 2013. The line will also make its Fashion Week debut in September of 2012.
466/64 Fashion, named after the inmate number assigned to Nelson Mandela during his imprisonment at Robben Island, is the first global fashion brand to originate in South Africa. A social impact brand, 466/64 will provide financial assistance to 466/64 (South Africa), a non-profit organization created by Mr. Mandela, which spearheads altruistic projects throughout the world. Not only will the fashion line benefit these projects by donating a percentage of its profits, it will also create jobs in South Africa and encourage growth in the country’s local textile industry. The runway show, though brief, suggested many striking designs ahead for the brand. Rich with the essence of a vibrant national culture, the featured 466/64 fashions were strong in aspects of color, structure, and overall design. South African multi-platinum songstress Lira and international supermodel Sam Sarpong were among those walking the runway in 466/64 designs.
Inspired by South African tradition, eclectic and intricate prints adorned women’s garments, while male models donned traditional plaids and solids. Bold reds, brilliant blues, and electric yellows commanded the runway and made for a visually stimulating collection, without looking too loud or overly dramatic. All of the looks were undeniably preppy, but refreshing in their daring color combinations and pattern play. The genius of 466/64 Fashion is that it succeeds as a ready-to-wear line while maintaining the integrity of its South African roots. Many garments featured the famous Mandela handprint and appliques of the African continent, which gave the clothing a sense of mindful intention and global awareness. The comprehensible fits and no-fuss nature of the line make it accessible and truly ready to be worn by all women, men and children.
“From a lifestyle perspective, the global arc of 466/64 Fashion makes it as relevant in Atlanta and Toronto as it is in Johannesburg,” said Patton. The line premiered at South African fashion week, and has since garnered what Wayne Bebb, CEO of Brand ID, calls a positive reaction. As the line grows, executives plan to increase the brand’s involvement in community projects worldwide. The first major beneficiary of funds raised by 466/64 Fashion will be the Mandela Day Library Project 2012, which will promote literacy in disadvantaged schools in South Africa. “We were so inspired by the vibrancy and authenticity of our African fashion, that we created a fashion brand that we believed would compete successfully around the world,” said Bebb. “When we added our commitment to social good, it made for a very compelling brand story that nobody else can own.”
US Debut 466/64 Fashion Line
photos by Kelly Mosser for All Things Fashion DC
Though originally from the New York Metropolitan area, Kelly Mosser is a Fashiontonian at heart. A student at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, she is studying the political and cultural climate of international affairs, and supplementing her education by indulging herself in DC’s vibrant and ever-growing fashion and cultural scenes. She is an aspiring journalist obsessed with style, trends, and All Things Fashion in Washington DC and around the world.