Swedish retail giant H&M has joined forces with South African brand Mantsho, in its first ever collaboration with an African designer.
The Mantsho label was created by Johannesburg-based designer, Palesa Mokubung, in 2004, and has graced many runways worldwide including in the United States, Greece, and India.
In Mokubung’s native Sesotho language, Mantsho means “Black is beautiful.”
“Mantsho x H&M is an exciting collection celebrating the elegance and vibrancy of Africa with modern edgy designs created for the stylish carefree woman,” reads a statement jointly released by H&M and Mantsho.
The collection which launched August 15th is for women’s accessories and clothes, and introduces a uniquely South African feel to H&M customers around the world.
t features flowing, easy fitting cuts in a range of color palettes including hues of pink and amber reds as well as chunky earrings and a print heavy clutch bag.
Mokubung, 38, says the collection is her love letter from Africa to the world, “I hope customers around the world will enjoy this ensemble of my stand out pieces from my last three collections,” she said in the statement.
H&M has had trouble with its South African audience in the past. Last year, the retailer faced backlash after releasing an image of a green hooded top modeled by a black boy with the slogan ‘coolest monkey in the jungle.’
The uproar led to the trashing of H&M stores in South Africa and a demand for its executives to attend racial sensitivity and diversity training.
The company’s South Africa website carried an apology following the incident saying, “We have got this wrong and we are deeply sorry.”
Mokubung’s collection for the European retailer is available online and in stores in the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Israel, and Belgium, giving the designer more visibility beyond her stores in South Africa.
“We are so excited to share this collection with our customers across the globe,” H&M said in a statement.