We have an update on a story we published earlier this week about the confusion arising between South Africa's 466/64 Fashion line, which is launching in the U.S. and plans to stage a show at New York Fashion Week next month, and the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
According to Erin Patton, CEO of Company B — the exclusive license holder for 466/64 Fashion in North America — the company never claimed the direct involvement of Mandela or his foundation in 466/64. As Patton was quoted by WWD on Aug. 2nd, Mandela "is not directly involved. That was never intimated. All the press materials say it was inspired by him." (Italics ours.) As Patton also told the Daily Beast, "We have a guarded approach so that we are not overly commercializing his image."
To counter the claims to the contrary by the North American representatives for the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the Dallas, Texas-based Patton asked us to share a statement by Sello Hatang, a spokesperson for the Mandela Foundation in South Africa, to clarify the backstory to the clothing line.
Mandela gave his foundation the right to use "46664," his prison number by South Africa's apartheid regime — he was prisoner #466 of 1964, or 466/64 — according to Hatang's statement "as a permanent reminder of the sacrifices he was prepared to make for a humanitarian and social justice cause he passionately believed in. The Nelson Mandela Foundation Trust licensed 46664 Concerts ("46664 South Africa") in perpetuity and a pro bono basis, to use the 46664 brand in addressing issues of a social injustice."
The "46664 Concerts" in Hatang's statement refers to the not-for-profit entity established to stage and collect funds for the 46664 charity concert ahead of Mandela's 90th birthday that took place in London's Hyde Park on June 27, 2008, with proceeds going to benefit HIV/AIDS organizations. AIDS champion Annie Lennox, along with Queen, Leona Lewis and the Soweto Gospel Choir, performed at the concert, along with a host of celebrities such as actor Will Smith.
Since its establishment, Hatang's statement continues, "46664 South Africa has been managed as a separate organisation and has its own board." Fast forward to 2011, when the statement continues that "a licence agreement was entered into between 46664 South Africa and Brand ID (a division of Seardel Group Trading (Pty) Ltd) whereby Brand ID was tasked with establishing a global fashion brand (466/64 Fashion) to create a sustainable income stream for 46664 South Africa."
Hatang's statement notes that the 466/64 Fashion line is a fundraising arm of "46664 South Africa" — "The agreement closely controls the investment of the funds generated through the success of the 466/64 Fashion brand and a percentage of the revenue generated from the sales of the 466/64 Fashion [collection] goes directly towards funding projects that take forward Mr Mandela's humanitarian legacy."
The statement concludes, "The first funds generated have been invested into the Mandela Day Library Project 2012, which has thus far funded three libraries in underprivileged schools in South Africa. More funds are expected to be utilised for such community based initiatives."
Brand ID's March 9, 2011, press release gives more details on the licensing deal that led to the 466/64 Fashion brand launch.
The press release states that the sale of 466/64 Fashion branded apparel will turn over between 7% and 9% of annual turnover to the 46664 non-profit organization. It also states that the 46664 not-for-profit was evolving beyond fundraising for HIV/AIDS causes to a wider humanitarian agenda to address the "broader social injustices in our society" — hence the need to raise money through the fashion licensing arrangement with Seardel and its new Brand ID division. That press release:
46664 today announced a licensing agreement with Cape Town-based Seardel Investment Corporation Limited that will see the launch of a 46664 global apparel brand in the second half of 2011.
The announcement by Nelson Mandela's multi-faceted global campaign was made by 46664 board member, Achmat Dangor, at The Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg. Joining Dangor at the announcement of the licensing agreement was Seardel's CEO, Stuart Queen and Wayne Bebb, CEO of Brand ID.
The 46664 Apparel is the first global apparel brand to emerge from South Africa and is designed to stand alongside the world's most high-profile, wardrobe building brands. In keeping with its African origins, the 46664 Apparel range of ladies and men clothing will make its first appearance through a standalone experiential concept store in Johannesburg in August 2011. Elements of the 46664 ranges will also be on the shelves of selected independent retail outlets nationwide. Plans for an international launch in 2012 are already underway and a standalone website will a llow individuals both nationally and internationally to purchase items from the range online.
The launch of the 46664 Apparel is a significant step in 46664's pursuit of the sustainability needed to take forward the humanitarian legacy, social justice projects and global awareness and prevention campaign, of its founder, Nelson Mandela.
"46664 has evolved to become much more than a global HIV IAlDS awareness and prevention campaign," commented Dangor. "The work of the organisation encompasses Mr Mandela's humanitarian legacy as well as confronting and inspiring action to address the broader social injustices in our SOciety. To do this effectively, 46664 needs reliable and sustainable income streams, something we believe the 46664 Apparel can significantly contribute to."
Added Dangor, "Seardel is South Africa's biggest clothing and textile manufacturer, and is passionately committed to the long-term sustainability of its industry. This makes for a strong partner in this exciting new step for 46664."
Dangor confirmed that the finalising of the licensing agreement between Seardel and 46664 came after a robust process of board level scrutiny of its terms and conditions as well as an unwavering commitment by Seardel to guard against the commercialisation of Mr. Mandela's name. He added that, alongside increasing 46664's financial sustainability, the 46664 Apparel will allow individuals globally to heed the call Mr. Mandela made at the 2008 London 46664 concert for "new hands to lift the burdens". "Initiatives like Nelson Mandela Day and partnerships that support 46664's evolved mandate give individuals the opportunity to make good on Mr Mandela's call, to take it into their hands," said Dangor.
The contribution of the 46664 Apparel to 46664 will come as a percentage of turnover starting at 7% and ending at 9% of annual turnover.
Commenting on Seardel's relationship with 46664, CEO Stuart Queen said the company was "very happy to be associated with a globally recognised and meaningful brand like 46664". "This partnership is very much about creating globally bench marked (sic) apparel that is unmistakably rooted in South Africa and that appeals to consumers around the world. Part of our commitment is to have a positive impact on the clothing and textile industry. "We are very mindful of the responsibility we have to balance the commercial aspect of the range with the needs and vision of 46664," added Queen.
In creating the 46664 Apparel, Seardel has charged its newly formed division, Brand ID, to ensure the integrity of 46664 filters across the entire range.
"The emphasis of the 46664 Apparel is on creating a global fashion brand that can stand alongside international apparel brands," said Brand ID's Wayne Bebb. "The mens and ladieswear ranges are both built around wardrobe building with different tiers of accessibility in terms of our pricing structure. Our full time design team has created a worldclass ladies and menswear range that has some great design elements that speak of Africa and 46664 in an innovative, unique way."
Although the full launch range will be revealed in August, a dedicated design team at Brand ID has created a fashion-forward yet truly wearable range that will find admirers across a broad section of individuals. The 46664 Apparel range stands out for its many unique design twists, which help underscore a subtle, yet very exciting connection to 46664. In addition, guest designers - both national and international - will create specific items for the 46664 Apparel.
To clarify any confusion this week, the 466/64 Fashion brand has been posting about its relationship to 46664 and the Mandela Foundation on its global website, US Twitter feed and US Facebook page, and on its South African Twitter feed and Facebook page, which has a FAQ section that states:
What are the key aspects of the license agreement in terms of preserving the legacy of Nelson Mandela?
The license agreement between 46664 and Seardel/Brand ID contains terms and conditions that have gone through a robust process of examination at both 46664 board level as well as relevant legal and due diligence processes. These include set financial commitments, the integrity of the 46664 brand and the longterm development of the clothing and textile manufacturing sector in South Africa. An important aspect of the license agreement between 46664 and Seardel/Brand ID is the protection of Mr Mandela’s Intellectual Property. This guards against the commercialisation of Mr. Mandela’s name and image and other elements related to him within the terms of the license agreement.
How did the relationship with Seardel/Brand ID come about?
The Nelson Mandela Foundation and its partners, including 46664, are approached regularly by companies and individuals wanting to commercialise the name of its founder. As one of the custodians of the living legacy that captures the vision and values of Mr Mandela’s life, work and times, the Nelson Mandela Foundation insists that potential partners must adhere to a particularly rigorous benchmarch (sic) of commitment and integrity. This holds true for the license now held by Seardel. Seardel’s standing as the country’s largest clothing and textile manufacturer, its commitment to sustaining these industries in the longterm to the benefit of South Africa’s economy as well as its commitment to adhering to strict terms within the agreement make Seardel an appropriate partner for the launch of 46664’s first apparel range.
46664 Fashion isn't the only commercial product bearing the 46664 brand, by the way — there's also a bracelet sold by the 46664 not-for-profit organization that bears the iconic numbers, along with a statement on its Facebook page regarding how it, too, was 'inspired' by Mandela:
"The 46664 Bangle Program was inspired by Mr Nelson Mandela’s legacy and built on a dream for sustainable change and influence driven by our passion."