Fashion has signaled towards many different changes in society, going hand in hand with shifts in various political dispensations around the world.
In America: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s tight tailored suits, Malcolm X’s iconic horn-rimmed glasses, Angela Davis’s afro: a symbol of power, resilience and Black Pride. Africa is no exception to this. Images of South Africa’s elderly statesmen, Nelson Mandela, remind us that in addition to a sharp wit, he always had a sharp sense of style.
Shifting from clean cut suits and crisp collars as a young lawyer, to bold prints on Chinese collared shirts when he became President in 1994: reminiscing on the grand man’s legacy also means looking back on his style through the decades.
Enter 466-64 Fashion. Touted as a “…true global paragon of peace and reconciliation…”, the brand is named after Nelson Mandela’s old Robben Island prison number.
The 466/64 campaign is one the world’s largest social justice initiatives. First launched in 2011 in South Africa, 466-64 Fashion has now extended into the US and Canada through US distributor ‘Company b.’ Mandela Day on Wednesday saw the brand launch at the South African Consulate in New York City.
Company b CEO, Erin Patton: “Fashion is a…powerful communal touchstone for proactive change. It reminds us that each and every person has the ability to overturn the status quo and achieve the ‘impossible’.”
466-64 Fashion have chosen multi-platinum and multi-award winning South African songstress, Lira, as their brand ambassador. Lira, who is considered an urban-Afrocentric cultural icon in South Africa, was also recently nominated for a 2012 BET Award in the Best International Act (Africa) category.
Tando Ntunja is a South African multimedia journalist and a Masters candidate of NYU Journalism’s Studio 20 (Web Innovation Journalism). Follow her on twitter @tandontunja. Ntunja is also a member of YSANY.
Images and additional video footage courtesy 466-64 Fashion and Lira