Mandela’s Shirt Designer Breaks Down Madiba’s Style



Vice Style recently spoke to Desre’ Nash, the shirtmaker who has supplied Nelson Mandela with his statement button-ups for over twenty years.

She broke down the legend’s style, humility and how she began outfitting one of the world’s most inspiring men after gifting him a fish-covered shirt:

[Vice:] So when did you first start making the shirts specifically for him?
[Nash:] It must have been about a year after the fish shirt. I got a call out of the blue from Mary saying that the next time they were in Cape Town they were going to arrange a meeting for me and I was just amazed. It was like my staple diet, praying and dreaming about meeting Nelson Mandela. Seriously. I think a lot of people thought I had lost the plot. 

What happened when you met him, then?
Well, when he entered the room I literally dived into his arms and started hugging him. At this point I was quite tearful and he goes “it’s such an honor to meet you” and you wanna just correct him, you know? Be like “No, it’s my honor!” That’s how humble this man is. I then said that I wanted to offer my services to him but that I wasn’t looking for pay because I already had my business manufacturing men’s shirts. He then asked me, “Well, would you like to make some shirts for me?” and I was like “Oh my God, of course!” Then a month later I delivered the first silk shirt to him for his 79th birthday.

Check out the full interview here



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