Nelson Mandela-Inspired Clothing Line Goes Global

Shantell Y. Sherman | 6/21/2012, 11:06 a.m.

Former South African President Nelson Mandela will celebrate his 94th birthday with yet another show of love: a line of clothing called 46664 Fashion, inspired by his fight for human rights among black South Africans. The collection, named after Mandela's prison number while he was jailed on Robben Island, has, so far, only been available in South Africa, but will launch worldwide July 18.

"This is a global brand that is as relevant in Atlanta as it is in Johannesburg. The designers have been able to capture and integrate the best of South African style and global fashion trends," Company B CEO Aaron Patton said.

Initially the first line from 46664 Fashion's men's wear, women's wear and children's wear will be available in North America via an online retail platform but 46664 Fashion is expected to hit retail stores in time for the holiday season and early 2013. The line features brightly colored garments with a distinct South African touch, including traditional "shweshwe" patterned shirts.

Wayne Bebb, CEO of Brand ID, describes the response to 46664 Fashion internationally as exceptionally positive.

"As the global custodian of the 46664 Fashion brand, we are excited to have started the journey of the promise we made to create the first global fashion brand that originates right here in South Africa.We have been overwhelmed by the positive response to the exceptional product and a brand concept that has a continued core ethic to support the projects of Nelson Mandela through 46664 [South Africa]."

The company, 46664 was established in 2002 as an independent non-profit organization, as an African response to the global HIV/AIDS pandemic, and takes its name from the prison number [prisoner 466 of 1964] given to Mandela upon his incarceration on Robben Island, off Cape Town, South Africa. In addition to the focus of global HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention campaigns, 46664 has expanded its focus to include all areas of Mandela's humanitarian legacy, confronting issues of social injustice.

Mandela spent time in various prisons on the mainland until his release in 1990 and was elected president following South Africa's first-ever free vote in 1994.