South African designer Palesa Mokubung is the first African designer to collaborate with the fashion giant H&M. The Swedish retailer joined forces with Mantsho, Mokubung's label, to create a collection celebrating the elegance and vibrancy of Africa.
Mokubung's career began in 2000 when she walked into a boutique in Johannesburg - Stoned Cherrie - and her outfit caught the boutique's owner's eye. The outfit was designed by Mokubung herself. She was immediately employed. In 2004, she launched her brand called Mantsho. Her goal was to create a fashion brand that would represent South Africa and Africa globally.
On August 15th, Mantsho's collaboration collection with H&M launched. The collection consists of women's clothes and accessories with a distinct African feel. It is available online and in H&M stores in the UK, France, Israel, Spain, and Belgium.
"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.
Mokubung has referred to the collection as her "love letter to Africa".
"I hope customers around the world will enjoy this ensemble of my stand out pieces from my last three collections," she said in a statement.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Mokubung said, "I really wanted to have a label that could remind me - that could remind everyone in case somebody wanted us to forget - how beautiful we are just because we are. Just because we exist. I wanted to have that attitude of unapologetic black, proud, stern, confident in the way that I design, in the way that I work, in the way that I approach the women that I saw, in the way I run my business, the way that I present myself, in the way that I am accepted. That message is very important to my soul—it is fire to my soul."
Mokubung hopes that more African women will follow their dreams.
H&M has previously collaborated with Italian designer Moschino and French luxury house, Balmain.
Header Image Credit: Instagram @palesamokubung