Turns out there appears to be a connection between 466/64 Fashion and the Nelson Mandela Foundation after all.

This story first appeared in the August 2, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

A new statement from the Nelson Mandela Foundation in South Africa spells out the relationship between the two organizations more clearly. 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.

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According to the statement, in 2011, a license agreement was forged between 46664 South Africa and Brand I.D., a division of Seardel Group Trading (pty) Ltd., whereby Brand I.D. established a global fashion brand (466/64 Fashion), “to create a sustainable income stream for 46664 South Africa.” The statement noted that the agreement controls the investment of the funds generated through the success of the 466/64 Fashion brand and a percentage of the revenue generated from the sales of 466/64 Fashion goes directly toward funding projects that bring forward Mandela’s legacy.

Erin Patton, chief executive officer of Company B, exclusive license holder for 466/64 Fashion in North America, said, “[Mandela] is not directly involved. That was never intimated. All the press materials say it was inspired by him.” He said that 46664 in South Africa is the beneficiary of the charity that was founded by Mandela.

Asked why James Cecil, president of Cadence Communications, which represents the Nelson Mandela Foundation in North America, would say that there was no affiliation with Mandela or his various foundations, Patton replied, “I have no clue. The foundation has confirmed the relationship.”

Cecil responded Wednesday, “No matter what the policy is, Nelson Mandela’s name is not to be used for commercial purposes.”

Patton added: “We have such an authentic fashion story to tell with this amazing brand that is rooted in South Africa’s vibrant, colorful culture and lifestyle cache as our well of inspiration. We are staunchly committed to ethical fashion as our brand ethos and look forward to bringing new energy, excitement and social impact to the retail channel in the U.S. and Canada. The initial response from retailers and the fashion community has been overwhelmingly positive.”

He said he was in “very advanced discussions” with potential retail partners for a spring 2013 launch.

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