Nomzamo Mbatha dishes on her 'empowered and sexy' Puma collection
The Puma x Nomzamo Mbatha Shandu collection is African through and through, says the actress
Nomzamo Mbatha’s second installation of her Shandu collection with Puma combines luxury, versatility and comfort for a life on the move.
“Like me, this collection is African through and through,” says the actress and human rights activist, who recently hosted a Global Citizen live concert on the Great Lawn in New York City, where she welcomed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle onto the stage to address the crowd on climate change action and urge world leaders to adopt a vaccine-equity policy to help end the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nomzamo released the second instalment of her Shandu collection with Puma only a few months after launching the first one earlier this year. The range of apparel and accessories is a tribute to her grandmother and to the clan she was born into in KwaMashu, KwaZulu-Natal.
“To the family and clan that I come from in KwaMashu, to my grandmother Mildred, who taught me how to stay humble but sassy while loving myself and remembering where I come from, and to every girl who aspires to be limitless in her greatness, despite her circumstance ... Shandu is an ode to you,” says Nomzamo.
“If you look at the biggest brands and legacies in the world, each has a surname attached to it. With this collection I pay homage to my family name, Shandu, knowing that my children, nieces and nephews will benefit from that,” she says.
“There’s a sense of pride in clan names. It’s a form of affection but also a form of heritage. I just believe in the preservation of heritage,” she continues.
The collection, rooted in her family and heritage, is also inspired by her on-the-go, travel-rich lifestyle and her love of luxury and comfort.
“I’m always thinking, what’s most comfortable and what do I want to look good in while I’m travelling. When you’re travelling you want to have the luxury but also be comfortable,” she says.
Following on from the success of the first collection in March this year, the latest drop builds on from the first with similar sorbet hues and the same bold digital African-inspired print woven through the collection. Drop 2 kicks it up a notch with a pop of yellow added to the colour palette.
The collection is the epitome of versatility with the possibility to mix and match the pieces according to your style and mood. From comfortable track pants and a maxi dress to halter-neck or zip detail crop tops, and a bomber jacket that can be thrown on with absolutely anything, “empowered and sexy” is what Nomzamo wanted and it’s what she’s achieved with this collection.
In her conversation with her close friend on Instagram, Anelisa Mangcu, Nomzamo gave a sneak peek into the process and some of the considerations that went into this dynamic collaboration.
“I knew that I wanted a little bit of print. I also spent some time researching the generation that we live in. I love what Gen-Zs do. There’s a sense of freedom that they bring in to how they dress, how they tackle social issues, how they move — we’re all taking notes from them. I wanted to have the essence of that but I also wanted timeless pieces that are versatile but with colour and brightness,” she says.
What's in the new collection?
The drop features the Puma x Nomzamo Mbatha bomber jacket (R2,299), track jacket (R1,299), track pants (R1,299), tops (R599), maxi dress (R999), bodysuit (R699), AOP bra top (R799) and AOP leggings (R999). Accessories include a headband (R600), half BB caps (R300) and bucket hats (R500).
“I wanted to have pieces for which I’d pay money because I'll have it forever and wear these items with absolutely anything. I can wear [pieces of the collection] during the day as well as in the evening,” she says.
From receiving drops in the early days to designing her own collections and becoming one of the brand’s top female ambassadors, Nomzamo fondly recalls how her relationship with the brand has grown steadily over the years.
“It was instant love. I was really welcomed into the Puma family,” she says.
As a brand ambassador, Nomzamo is part of Puma’s She Moves Us campaign, which calls on women not only to inspire one another, but also to take control of and change the global narrative.
The campaign, led by global pop superstar Dua Lipa, celebrates the women who've moved culture and sports forward and tells the stories of how these women were inspired to become who they are today. It touches on other women who helped them on their way, how they overcame challenges in their personal lives and careers, and how they made it to the top of the game.
“I think I’ve always valued the principle of hard work; the energy that you put into everything to get the best outcome. I think I’d tell my younger self that I’ve kept the promises I made and I’m still running the good race,” says Nomzamo.
• The Puma x Nomzamo Mbatha Shandu collection is now available from Puma.com, Puma V&A Waterfront, Braamfontein, Mall of Africa, Sandton, Gateway, Sportscene, X-Trend and selected retailers. This article was paid for by Puma.