Nelson Mandela Helps Madiba Shirts To Become Popular

In practically every image of Nelson Mandela after he became president in 1994, he is wearing a silk, long-sleeved, button-up shirt covered with bright, colorful patterns. Those shirts were custom made by a white South African fashion designer.

Copyright © 2013 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And today's last word in business is: Madiba Shirts.

We've been remembering this morning that many impacts that Nelson Mandela had on the world in politics and race and reconciliation. He died yesterday in South Africa at the age of 95. But we cannot leave without mentioning his impact on fashion.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In practically every image of Mandela after he became president in 1994, he is wearing a silk, long-sleeved, button-up shirt covered with bright, colorful patterns. Those shirts were custom-made by a white South African fashion designer named Desre Buirski.

INSKEEP: She says it started in 1994, when she spotted the newly elected president's Mercedes at an event. She handed one of her hand-painted batik shirts to his driver and begged him to go pass it along to Mandela as a gift.

MONTAGNE: Days later, she saw him wearing it in press photos just before his inauguration. Buirski went on to become Mandela's official shirt designer, making over 100 shirts for him over the years.

INSKEEP: And in turn, spawning a minor industry, which now sees those Madiba shirts being sold on websites and in shops around the world.

That's the business news on MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

MONTAGNE: And I'm Renee Montagne.

Copyright © 2013 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: