No, the humanitarian and former South African president is not making a career change into fashion in his '90s. However, he is the central inspiration for a new South African apparel brand called 46664, which was Nelson Mandela's prison ID number and is also the name of the Nelson Mandela Foundation's AIDS awareness campaign.
The men's and women's brand has strong ties to Mandela's legacy and, thus, to South Africa's history, but also its future, as a sustainable way to benefit the country's struggling clothing and textile manufacturing industries, as well as the Nelson Mandela Foundation's charitable endeavors.
The line launched in August at Stuttafords, a department store in Johannesburg. Reportedly, 46664 will be stocked in 15 Stuttafords nationwide, as well as 70 independent retailers, will launch ecommerce by mid-November and roll out internationally next year. The price points are reasonable for what we're used to--from $26 for a T-shirt and $86 for a polo--but out of reach for many South Africans.
Based on what we've seen, the clothes are well-tailored, classic sportswear with African influences seen in colors, prints and accents. 46664 is set to make its runway debut on Sunday during South Africa Fashion Week in Johannesburg. Anna Wintour may not be in the front row, but that doesn't mean the brand won't have some legitimate fashion cred. According to WWD, Stella McCartney is rumored to be the brand's first guest designer.