Thursday, July 19, 2012

Nelson Mandela Suits Up with 466/64 Fashion

NELSON Mandela has reached many milestones.

One of the latest is 466/64 Fashion, a clothing line inspired by the elder statesman. The men’s, women’s and children’s lifestyle brand made its North American debut yesterday – NM’s 94th birthday aka Nelson Mandela International Day – during a fashion presentation and press conference at the South African Consulate in New York. Among those in attendance to see the first global fashion label originating from South Africa was native daughter and singer, Lira, a 466/64 Fashion customer.

No doubt, NM is the first ever and only sitting or former head of state to be honored with a fashion line. 46664 is the number (prisoner number 466 of the year 1964) he was given during his long imprisonment in a South African prison for his opposition to apartheid.

Erin Patton, CEO of Dallas-based Company B, which holds the North American license to the brand, believes that what NM represents is part of what sets 466/64 Fashion apart from many other lines. “We’re offering the ability to have a brand that has cache, right – upstream – and at the same time has relevance from a cultural standpoint,” he said in an interview after the press conference.

Like the models, Company B CEO Erin Patton, fourth from left, shows off his 466/64 Fashion. Photo by Yours Truly.

“Typically, a lot of consumers have to create aspiration around certain brands that may or may not connect with them on a cultural level,EP added. "We are creating an opportunity for aspiration and cultural relevance and that is a space that we occupy and that gives us a huge amount of differentiation.” (See video above of the collection's debut at South African Fashion Week last September).

In 466/64 Fashion is an outfit for just about every occasion, from casual to business casual, to after-5, to black-tie. Made mostly (60 percent) in South Africa by design, it is heavy on snap/crackle/pop prints and bodacious colors. “We were at the BET Awards ... heads were turning, said EP who was got up in a white blazer, plaid shirt and blue jeans from the line. “The celebrities – the stylists – were like, ‘where is that coming from.’”

466/64 Fashion is currently available online ( and will arrive in Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom and other stores in spring 2013. A small percentage of proceeds from sales will go to a licensee of the Nelson Mandela Foundation Trust, 46664 South Africa, which funds projects around Africa that advance NM's legacy.

The North American launch is the first outside of Africa. Plans are in the works to enter the European market, EP said.

Visit to learn more about 46664 South Africa and to learn more about the Nelson Mandela Foundation Trust.

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