South Africa’s former president and veteran campaigner, Nelson Mandela, has launched his own line in fashion “46664”. It is all part of the not-for-profit organization of the same name launched in 2002. Initially, “46664” was formed to promote global HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention but now encompasses many of Nelson Mandela’s humanitarian ideals.
“46664” is named to commemorate the prison number given to Mandela when he was given life imprisonment on Robben Island, off Cape Town, South Africa. Mandela wanted to use the number as a permanent reminder of the sacrifices he was prepared to make for humanitarian causes and social justice.
The range, launched just a few weeks after Nelson Mandela was honored by designer David Tlale as part of Johannesburg fashion week, has been described as “fashion-forward, yet truly wearable”. It is hoped that “the range allows customers to look and feel good. It redefines fashion”, the publicity notes say. Somewhat disappointingly, advance photographs of the garments seem to show several colored tee shirts all emblazoned with Mandela’s prison number on the sleeve. However, national and international guest designers are expected to launch capsule ranges with the brand.
The men and women’s clothing will be distributed initially in a dedicated Johannesburg store this August and is then expected to be rolled out to local, national and international retailers in 2012. There will also be an online store.
The money derived from the clothing range, 46664, and other business ventures, will provide a reliable and sustainable income to enable the charity to carry on its humanitarian work.