Back in July, it was reported that a fashion line founded and inspired by Nelson Mandela had made its North American debut. It was called 466/64 after Mandela’s cell number on Robben Island and year of imprisonment, and it was set to show at New York Fashion Week in September. It still is, however yesterday WWD published claims from the Mandela camp that the humanitarian was not, in fact, involved with the brand. Today the paper has again clarified the original statement:
Mandela gave the number, 46664 (taken from his prison number), to the Nelson Mandela Foundation Trust, “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 on a pro bono basis, to use the 46664 brand in addressing issues of social injustice. Since then, 46664 South Africa has been managed by a separate organization, which has its own board, the statement said.
So the brand is not directly connected with Mandela, but it is loosely affiliated through a chain of licensing deals. Unsurprising, but those involved seem very determined to get their story straight once and for all.
This seems like it is just a case of legal technicalities screwing with everyone’s understanding of the situation — though even if that is the case, wouldn’t it be easier to just get it right the first time?