46664 label gets stamp of global approval
Mandela name helps crack international market
THE 46664 clothing line has made global fashion stability and it continues to seek global partnerships. But it is a collection for the selected and hip.
CEO of Brand Identity Wayne Bebb says the brand manufactures 40% of its clothing lines locally .
Bebb says he is hopeful that by the end of this year the number split will be 50-50.
"We are phasing our global partnership in other countries. A lot of internationals are interested in the brand and in the name behind it.
"Our first phase includes the US, Norway, Mozambique, then France and the UK."
Women's wear designer product manager Barbara Tosal believes that if the brand has to compete globally, it has to stand out, and that is why they applied the "fashion first" approach and it has proved to work.
"The colours are bold and have the 'walk tall feel'. It breaks the racial or border boundaries, and I think the international community are interested in the range, first for its beauty and the name (Mandela) behind it.
"It is for this reason that we have cracked the international market," says Tosal.
Statement T-Shirt designer Craig Native, the brain behind the T-shirt graphics, spends time in the Mandela archive looking for inspiration - pictures, life and Struggle stories - which are then graphically interpreted and subtly linked to the Struggle icon.
"We are always looking for new ideas. For the Winter 12 collection, we went for Mandela 'the fighter', which can be appreciated for its grace and discipline, the 'never give up' attitude and his incredible strength and courage.
"At the back of every T-shirt is a message from the man himself," says Native.
The initiative was started with core ethics and the responsibility to society, and also to benefit communities.
"Because Madiba is firm on knowledge and wanting the nation to be literate, we are already talking shipping containers turned into make-shift schools.
"Here children cannot only learn maths, physics and languages, they are also exposed to the fashion industry," he adds.
Hlubi Mboya, the 46664 HIV ambassador, says the clothing range should be seen as an extension of Mandela's personality as it always brings hope.
Native , Tosa l and Chris Volgelpoel are currently the only resident designers, but Bebb is looking at bringing in guest designers to tell their stories or make their statements as they see the icon .
"We continue to look for inspiring stories to tell the world."
Another bold step was taking the 46664 clothing line to the South African Fashion Week last year.