The first collaboration between H&M and a South African brand launches August 15.
High street behemoth H&M is renowned for its designer collaborations, which have included brands such as Stella McCartney, Balmain and Erdem. This month, the Swedish retailer is launching its first collaboration with a South African brand, Mantsho, founded by designer Palese Mokubung. Although the collection won't be available in Dublin's flagship store at College Green, it will be available online from August 15.
For women who crave distinctiveness from their fashion choices, this is the collection for them. I was instantly enthralled by both the graphic prints and contemporary silhouettes. The entire collection feels fresh and modern and, for me, has an energy that really appeals. Perhaps that's because, unlike other H&M collaborations where we've been familiar with the aesthetic of the designer involved, Mantsho will be completely new to most of us.
The name itself, Mantsho, means "black is beautiful' in Mokubung's native Sesotho language and the brand was established in 2004. Since then it has appeared on runways in countries as diverse as Greece, India, the USA and Jamaica.
My favourite piece is the tunic-style dress, above. I love the high neckline and fluid silhouette, which is tempered by the above-the-knee hemline. I would pair this with a black polo neck and black tights in winter. The richness of the colours used in many of the pieces in this collection means they can easily be worn come autumn. They'll work beautifully with the shades of merlot and mustard that are coming through for autumn/winter.
It's a bold move for H&M, which has until now only collaborated with global brands that have guaranteed appeal. The Mantsho collaboration is a much greater risk, but for me it's the most exciting collaboration I've seen in a long time.
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