New clothing range won’t commercialise Mandela

The global clothing brand to be launched by non-profit organisation 46664 will not commercialise former president Nelson Mandela in any way, the organisation said at a press briefing in Houghton on Wednesday.

“There’s resistance to commercialisation of Mandela,” said Nelson Mandela Foundation CEO and 46664 board member Achmat Dangor.

“We will not use Madiba’s image or name in any of our merchandise … we will use his legacy, what he stands for … we do not need to use his face,” Dangor said.

The only logos or slogans featured would be the number “46664” — the former president’s prison number — and the image of an outstretched hand.

The organisation planned to launch a clothing range in August to raise funds and promote Mandela’s humanitarian legacy.

Dangor said it could no longer depend on philanthropy to fund both awareness-raising and projects such as Nelson Mandela Day.

“46664 needs reliable and sustainable income streams, something we believe the 46664 Apparel can significantly contribute to,” he said.

The foundation had partnered with Seardel, South Africa’s largest clothing and textile manufacturer, to launch the brand.

Brand ID, a division of Seardel, was responsible for the range’s design although there were future plans for collaboration with leading local and international designers.

Brand ID said that initially, 40% of the clothing would manufactured locally.

“In the beginning, it’s not possible to manufacture everything locally, but it is our goal in the future,” said Brand ID CEO Wayne Bebb.

Seardel CEO Stuart Queen said the range hoped to sustain a troubled local clothing industry.

“This will not undermine the local industry, but help build it up,” said Dangor.

The range would featured business and casual pieces.

T-shirts would sell for about R189 and collared shirts for about R600, said Bebb.

He said there were different prices so that everyone could afford something, even if it was a T-shirt or an accessory.

Bebb said a slightly different range would be launched globally in 2012, with pieces adjusted for colder climates.

The clothing range would be launched in South Africa at a stand-alone concept store in Johannesburg, followed by distribution at Stuttafords.

Merchandise would also be available online.

Bebb said that the clothing would not be modelled on something Mandela would wear.

“There’s only one man who can wear the Madiba shirt,” he joked. – Sapa

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