With wearable tech becoming something of a global buzzword, Sanlam has teamed up with award-winning knitwear designer Laduma Ngxokolo of MaXhosa to create a stylish cuff that also features a seamless “scan to save” mechanism.
A National Savings Month initiative, the Mna Nam cuff incorporates a QR code as part of its pattern. The wearer can at any time scan the code to save to a linked WeChat "savings wallet", powered by Standard Bank.
Laduma is recognised globally as one of the leading heritage-inspired knitwear designers from Africa, using bold traditional patterns and colours in sophisticated designs. Mna Nam is his first foray into the world of accessories and embodies his statement aesthetic.
But this is about so much more than fashion. An accessory that helps you save as easily as you would normally spend, Mna Nam subverts the traditional association between the fashion industry and excessive spending, shifting the narrative to make saving stylish.
For Laduma, the execution needed to be as iconic as the idea. The finished product exemplifies good rhythm and line design work and is well balanced aesthetically to make consumers excited to wear it.
He says the design and savings message is a personal one. His world-renowned brand is heavily influenced by his mother – the woman who taught him to knit and to be financially vigilant. As a single mother and entrepreneur, she inspired him to follow his passion, stay courageous and prove that it was possible “to grow a rose from concrete”.
Today Laduma is fascinated by the design industry of tomorrow, especially having just finished his master's in material futures. One day, he believes scientists could replace designers in creating forward-thinking fashion that serves a purpose. After all, people buy into big ideas they feel will improve their lives. For the marriage of function and fashion to work, it needs to make sense and add value, he says.
“The power of the Mna Nam takes technology that people are already familiar with and repurposes it,” says Yegs Ramiah, CE of Sanlam Brand.
“Africa has a legacy of inspiring ingenuity when it comes to taking things with one purpose and repurposing them for something else. Mna Nam is the latest in a long tradition of smart innovations transformed to solve particular problems – in this case, South Africans’ reluctance to save.”
For Laduma and Sanlam, the accessory acts as a means of empowering people to reflect on their interactions with money. It’s a stylish reminder to think twice before buying and to opt for quality over quantity.
Go to mnanam.com to sign up and you could be one of the very first people to own the limited-edition Mna Nam by Laduma.
This article was paid for by Sanlam.