Already adorning the wrists of South Africa’s hottest celebrities, the limited editionMna Nam by Laduma is this season’s must-have accessory. Effortlessly combining fashion with function, it allows you to save as easily as you would normally spend.

Globally acclaimed designer Laduma Ngxokolo joined forces with Sanlam this National Savings Month to launch an accessory so exquisite in its design, that fashion forward South Africans will be clamouring for their own limited edition Mna Nam. But while the creation stands alone for its aesthetic appeal, there’s more to it than what meets the eye. A world first, the Mna Nam is wearable tech that allows its owners to improve their savings habits by diverting savings to a digital savings wallet with a simple scan of the wrist.

This powerhouse collaboration aims to improve the savings habits of South Africans who, unfortunately, tend to spend and access credit rather than invest and grow their hard earned money. The Mna Nam is worn around the wrist and made from modern acrylic with Ngxokolo’s signature bold patterns in gold. It seamlessly fuses tech with fashion, giving wearers a purpose-led accessory that still champions beauty.

When Sanlam approached Ngxokolo about designing the Mna Nam, he immediately thought the idea would fascinate people, especially when coupled with his aesthetic. “I wanted to create a design with good rhythm and balance which is why the QR code embedded in the accessory is diamond-shaped to fit the flow of the pattern.” This QR code enables a simple ‘scan and save’ mechanism, which links to a virtual Savings Wallet on wearer’s mobile phone. Having recently completed his masters in Material Futures, Ngxokolo believes that people will increasingly favour fashion that offers more. “This shift is already being seen globally, wearable tech combatting fitness concerns, sunglasses sensing brainwaves, and swimwear materials making swimmers move faster.

Mna Nam takes wearable tech into the financial sphere, giving people a stylish solution to saving. “ Says Ngxokolo, “Having the accessory around the wrist gives people a visual reminder to consider carefully before buying. What interests me is that we took the fashion industry, which is traditionally associated with spending, and subverted it to be a space for saving. We also took technology used primarily for spending and repurposed it for easy saving. Africa has a history of ingenuity when it comes to repurposing tech to solve very specific problems. We used this to leverage mobile and all its capabilities.”

In terms of saving, Ngxokolo’s personal philosophy is to choose quality over quantity. “As an entrepreneur, managing money is extremely important. My philosophy has always been to buy quality over quantity. I learned this from my mother, who was very vigilant about spending. I grew up wearing second-hand clothes but my mother would always look for the best quality items. She’d save up for a merino wool jersey for me because she believed it would last for 20 years. She taught me that saving is the key to sustainability, and I want my business to be sustainable for many years.”

Yegs Ramiah, CEO of Sanlam Brand, says, “We wanted to make it as simple to save as it is to spend. This is fashion with the potential to change behaviour and start an important conversation. Sanlam is proudly African and deeply ingrained in the fabric of this society. We believe we have the legacy, competence and insight necessary to turn South Africa’s poor savings culture around.” Multi-award winning Ngxokolo has always been inspired by traditional Xhosa culture. His chic, contemporary knitwear has gained international acclaim in London, Paris, Berlin, New York, Amsterdam and Japan. Mna Nam marks his first foray into fashion accessories. 

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