That’s what Palesa Mokubung learned when it was announced that her brand, Mantsho, would be collaborating with the Swedish retailer—the first South African label to do so in H&M’s 15 years of designer partnerships. Though there was a four-month gap between the announcement and the launch, “on social media, our following has grown significantly. We’ve made more sales and have more traffic in the store,” she tells Glamour.
Through this collection, Mokubung wanted “to celebrate the beauty of women and the vibrancy and diversity of the African aesthetic, its textures and its colors.” (Mantsho means “black is beautiful” in Sesotho.) That meant rendering sophisticated and modern silhouettes in bold fabrics, “suited for the confident, elegant, carefree, and unique woman who sees herself as a style leader.”
There are a few key elements that define a Mantsho original, according to Mokubung: “its confident, effortless silhouette; its structure; and its quirkiness.” The brand has a signature, a face/floral motif that’s spotted across its main line—it’s so core to Mantsho, it had to appear in this capsule (and it does, in three new prints, created by Mokubung on the occasion of this partnership). Products, which range from apparel to accessories and footwear, start at $24.99 and cap out at $129.
“As a fashion brand, we value diversity of ideas and people and we draw creativity and inspiration from across our geographical footprint and our customers,” says Pernilla Wohlfahrt, H&M’s Head of Special Collections and Collaborations. “A South African designer collaboration has been on our radar since we opened there in 2015.”
“I’m happy that, from the onset, H&M gave me full reign to be authentic in my designs, which are influenced by the life of the modern African woman,” Mokubung says. She wanted to represent “the best of Mantsho,” so she recreated some of the most successful pieces from the brand’s past three collections. “This is my love letter to the world from Africa.”
See all the pieces in Mantsho x H&M, ahead.