H&M Launches 1st-Ever Collaboration With An African Label, South Africa’s Mantsho

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli
Mantsho
South African fashion label Mantsho is the first African brand to collaborate with H&M. Screenshot from YouTube – Palesa Mokubung | Mantsho Collaboration | H&M (Jun. 29, 2019)

H&M, the second-largest global clothing retailer in the world, has launched a collaboration with South African label Mantsho.

This is Swedish company’s first-ever collaboration with an African label, having previously worked with high-end fashion brands including Moschino, Kenzo, Balmain and Karl Lagerfeld, according to the Evening Standard.

Mantsho means “Black is beautiful” in designer Palesa Mokubung’s native tongue — Sesotho.

H&M operates in 62 countries with more than 4,500 stores, and the Mantsho range is available globally online and in selected stores in 11 regions around the world, M&G reports.

Only Spain-based clothing retailer Inditex, the parent company of Zara, is larger than H&M globally.

The Mantsho X H&M range includes dresses, pants, a skirt, kimonos, blouses, a sweater, espadrilles, clutch bags, earrings, and leather cuffs.

South African designer Mokubung, 37, has showcased her creations internationally in the U.S., Greece, India, Jamaica, Nigeria, Botswana and Senegal.

The Mantsho label turns 15

Mokubung launched the Mantsho clothing label in 2004, inspired by her time working at Johannesburg boutique, Stoned Cherrie. She has a bachelor of arts degree in fashion design and runs two clothing stores in Johannesburg.

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Mantsho was chosen by H&M from a selection of unnamed African designers. The retail giant contacted several designers before visiting each of them and making a final decision in favor of Mokubung’s label.

“This is my love letter to the world from Africa. I hope customers around the world will enjoy this ensemble of my stand-out pieces from my last three collections,” Mokubung told Refinery24.

H&M launched in South African in 2017. The Swedish retail firm has around 900 employees in its 26 South African stores, distribution center and offices, NowinSA reports.

The clothing company temporarily closed 17 South African stores in January 2018 following outrage over a racist image on its website. Protesters spoke out against an ad showing a Black child wearing a green hoodie with the words, “coolest monkey in the jungle.”