Palesa Mokubung's Mantsho Label Honored In H&M's First African Designer Collab

Palesa Mokubung and her signature Mantsho label are making history as the first H&M collab with an African designer. The collection drops Aug. 15, 2019.

Palesa Mokubung and her signature Mantsho label are making history as the first H&M collab with an African designer. The collection drops Aug. 15, 2019.

Palesa Mokubung launched her South African Mantsho brand in 2004, with a focus of turning African-inspired prints and cultures into modern, edgy designs. Oscar-winner ‘Black Panther’ costume designer Ruth E. Carter gave Mantsho a global nod last year, and today Palesa Mokubung is making big news with her upcoming August 2019 H&M collab.

Mokubung enjoys the prestige of being the first collab between an African designer and H&M. Between H&M’s sustainability drive and now this announcement, we have limitless reasons to celebrate — and support — the Swedish retailer. (Note that AOC is not an H&M affiliate, but perhaps I should reconsider.)

‘Black Panther’ costume designer Ruth Carter wore Mantsho to the movie’s premier.

‘Black Panther’ costume designer Ruth Carter wore Mantsho to the movie’s premier.

“She’s my sister on the other side of the world,” Mokubung told THR about Carter, who discovered Mantsho when she walked into its Melville, South Africa store in early 2018. “She just walked in, one day before ‘Black Panther’ was released, and liked my collection at the time, which was a range of mud-cloth dresses. And she bought one dress and a signature accessory and said she would wear it at the ‘Black Panther’ premiere. She got so much praise that, soon after that, she said, ‘Please can you make me another dress?’ And I did. It’s been ongoing since."

Mokubung will expand her reach this August when her collection arrives in over 60 H&M stores worldwide, joining an illustrious list of other high-profile fashion designers including Karl Lagerfeld, Alexander Wang, Moschino and soccer legend David Beckham, who have also collaborated with the retailer.

The collection will be available in H&M's flagship stores in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Belgium, Mexico, Chile and Israel starting on Aug. 15.

Palesa Mokubung and her signature Mantsho label are making history as the first H&M collab with an African designer. The collection drops Aug. 15, 2019.

Palesa Mokubung and her signature Mantsho label are making history as the first H&M collab with an African designer. The collection drops Aug. 15, 2019.

“The kind of woman that identifies with my brand is the woman who is a style leader among her friends, who is looking for something quirky and unique, who values comfort, originality and overall consideration for the female physique,” the designer says about her clothes. “All these qualities are qualities that every single woman from any background can identify with. We all want to feel unique special and understood and adorned. The collection has that, even though it’s a commercial collection. That’s where the collaboration is a nice fit.”

H&M’s Pernilla Wohlfahrt, assortment manager for collaborations and special collections, says that the company is excited to bring Mokubung's work to the rest of the world: “Palesa is such an inspiring talent and personality. We love how she works with color, print and silhouettes enhancing the female shape in a flattering and playful way."

The images above are from Mokubung’s Fall 2019 collection.