August 30 2014

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Ubuntu Arrives By Way Of Denmark, England, South Africa, And Zaire (Maybe)


As fashion explanations go, this was unusual: “[Attached is] a sneak preview of a shoot we did in the heart of Zaire yesterday,” writes musician and artist Xander Ferreira, one of the minds behind the new Ubuntu collection. “Flew in and out same day in the private jet of the president!”

It’s difficult to say exactly how much of this is true: Zaire, after all, is no longer a country, and it seems unlikely that the current president of the Democratic Republic of Congo lent his Concorde to the rabble-rousers behind Ubuntu, no matter how sterling their intentions. But the collection can stand—if not fly—on its own quite nicely, anyway. The brainchild of the Denmark-born, London-based knitwear designers the Inoue Brothers; the South African “Limpop” band Gazelle, which is Ferreira and DJ Nick Matthews; and the Danish design team the Créol Brothers, Ubuntu’s simply cut, wildly embellished menswear should find fans worldwide. Especially smart are the hand-beaded tops, made from organic hemp—the group hired residents of the impoverished Khayelitsha township, near Cape Town, to produce them. “Beading is a skill many women in South Africa have, and we came up with different ways that it could be fashionable,” Ferreira says. “Our goal, with this project, is not just to help people but to empower them, to educate people, and see them sustain themselves.” They go on sale today at Storm in Copenhagen, on June 19 at Dover Street Market, and, with luck, a well-known U.S. retailer or two in the months to come.

Photos: Xavier Ferreira/Courtesy of Ubuntu

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