Newly launched 'Nelson Mandela' fashion line is revealed to have no association with former South African president
15:03 GMT, 1 August 2012
Controversial claims that 84-year-old Nelson Mandela had recently founded a fashion line launching in America. this summer, have been revealed to be untrue.
The label, called 466/64 Fashion, is claiming to be inspired and founded by the former South African president, leading people to believe his political legacy is behind the brand.
However,James Cecil, president of Cadence Communications, which represents the Nelson Mandela Foundation in North America, told WWD: 'They cleverly use his quotes in their advertising, but this is not his line of clothing; he did not launch it, nor is he associated with it.'
Style icon Former South African president Nelson Mandela is said to be the inspiration behind the clothing line 466/64 Fashion which is coming to the U.S this summer – a model, left, sports one of the collection's looks
He continued: '466/64 Fashion is making false claims that it is tied to Nelson Mandela – it is not, nor does it benefit him or his foundations. They are deliberately misleading people in the fashion industry.'
Mr Cecil also added that both 466/64 Fashion and the 46664 Foundation 'have no affiliation with Nelson Mandela, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, nor the Mandela Rhodes Foundation.'
The collection, named after Mandela’s
prison number while he was jailed on Robben Island, has, so far, only
been available in South Africa.
'It is not, nor does it benefit him or his foundations. They are deliberately misleading people in the fashion industry'
Currently 466/64 Fashion is being rolled-out globally to launch later this year after a Dallas-based distribution
company, called company b, struck an exclusive deal with the Nation
Mandela Foundation to sell the items in the U.S and Canada.
The brand, which was introduced to the U.S. market last week on Nelson Mandela International Day, at the South African Consulate in New York, features casual wear in bright colours and vibrant African-influenced patterns, with lines for women, men and children.
A spokeswoman for 466/64 Fashion
explained that the 46664 trademark is managed by 46664 South Africa, a
not-for-profit organization founded in 2002 to promote Nelson Mandela’s
Traditional: The collection takes inspiration from the bright patterns and colourful shirts Mandela is known for
She said in a statement: '46664 South
Africa has its own board of directors and is a separate entity to the
Nelson Mandela Foundation.'
After Mr Cecil pointed out that 'the
name “Nelson Mandela” is not to be used in conjunction with any
commercial products.', the spokeswoman added: '46664 South Africa’s ethos is not to use Mr. Mandela’s name and image commercially… it is
to establish a global fashion brand that can create a sustainable
income stream in order to fund various humanitarian projects.
'466/64 Fashion is therefore not Mr. Mandela’s clothing brand or line and should not be reported as such.'
The brand, with press materials
stating that 46664 South Africa was founded by Mandela and that 466/64
Fashion was inspired by Mandela’s legacy, was launched in South Africa
in August 2011.
The line, which will see ten per cent of proceeds go to the foundation, includes traditional ‘shweshwe’
patterned shirts, which Mandela often sports, and colourful hoodies
with 466/64 blazoned on the back.
Bright and beautiful: Models don outfits from Fashion 466/64 – which first launched in South Africa last summer
Trendy: Ten per cent of sales from Fashion 466/64 go to the Nelson Mandela foundation
Although Mandela is well into his 10th decade, the clothes said inspired by him are aimed at a younger audience – preppy shoppers in the twenties and thirties.
In South Africa, the shirts retail for approximately $70, although it is not known how much the clothes will sell for in the U.S.
Since launching last summer, Fashion 46664 has raised enough money to build three libraries, created out of containers, for disadvantaged primary schools.
In 1962 Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment for fighting against South Africa’s apartheid system.
He spent the next 27 years in jail, mostly at the infamous Robben Island prison, where he was known by the number 46664.
In 1994, four years after being released, Mandela became South Africa’s first black president.