Business
3:16 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Nelson Mandela Helps Madiba Shirts To Become Popular

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 8:49 am

Transcript

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. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.