The African fashion industry is the future of fashion. In recent years, there has been an increase in interest in Afrocentric fashion and it’s quickly becoming one of the hottest fashion trends globally. Major celebrities have also adopted Afrocentric trends which has pushed the trend further. Beyoncé, for example, has been spotted clad in gorgeous outfits from various African fashion designers like Sarah Diouf, the Senegalese fashion designer who owns the fashion brand Tongoro Studio. Naomi Campbell, who could arguably be one of the greatest black female models of all time has also adopted a rather close connection to the African fashion industry. She has been spotted at various African fashion weeks in Lagos and has made close ties and connections with prominent African fashion influencers.
Major international fashion brands are also realizing the shift in interest and are making sure they are not left behind in this new trend. H&M, one of the biggest fashion brands globally, has also joined the band wagon and will be launching its first collaboration with an African fashion brand, Mantsho, on August 15th 2019. Mantsho, is a South African fashion brand based in Johannesburg, South Africa. "Mantsho" is a Sesotho name meaning “Black is Beautiful” a clothing label that was established by Palesa Mokubung in 2004. The Johannesburg based designer hails from Kroonstad in the Orange Free State. She was raised by a single mom along with her equally talented brother who is responsible for creating the Mantsho Logo. Palesa's career started when she walked into a boutique in Rosebank Johannesburg and the owner asked her where she got her outfit from and Palesa said ‘’I made it”.
Palesa zooms in on African materials and cleverly transforms them into modern and edgy designs incorporating fine silks and woven fabrics to end up with a 100% Mantsho garment. A true Mantsho garment can be identified buy it’s confident and effortless silhouette, structure and quirkiness. These three elements work well to describe Mokubung's knowledge of her craft. Shape is a big character of her design ethos she believes it stores a woman's confidence. Mantsho's accolades range from creating woven fabrics with giant fabric weavers called Tie Weavers, being nominated for a number of awards to being named the ‘The African Trend Dictator’ by one of SA’s top publications.
Since the launch of H&M in South Africa back in 2015, it has faced a lot of pressure from the African fashion industry to support local fashion designers and local manufacturers. This collaboration has thus come in due time.
The Mantsho x H&M collection celebrates the elegance and vibrancy of Africa with modern edgy designs created for the stylish carefree woman. The range features flowy, easy fitting cuts, frills and gathers in a range of colour palettes from blues, browns to blacks, hues of pink and amber reds. Afrocentric fashionable accessories that include shoes, earrings and a clutch bag complete the collection. “This is my love letter to the world from Africa,” says Mantsho’s head of design, Palesa Mokubung. “I hope customers around the world will enjoy this ensemble of my stand out pieces from my last three collections.”
The Mantsho x H&M collaboration will be sold in all South African H&M stores, exclusive flagship stores around the world (United States of America, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Portugal, The Netherlands, Belgium, Mexico, Chile and Israel) and all H&M online markets. The collection of women’s wear and accessories will introduce a fresh, fun and uniquely South African aesthetic to H&M customers around the world.
With this big move, we hope other major international fashion brands will be inspired to invest in the African fashion industry. The collection launches this week on the 15th of August and we hope to see them selling out in both South African stores and internationally. #SupportLocal