Lutz & Patmos Collaborate with Desmond Tutu


Lutz and Patmos (Tina Lutz and Marcia Patmos) are best known for their luxurious fabrics and forward design, collaborations, and working with guest designers like Kirsten Dunst, Sofia Coppola and their newest guest, Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The Nobel peace Laureate and activist worked with Lutz and Patmos to design an organic cotton sweater and textile fabulous beaded necklace so that a portion all the proceeds could go towards the Desmond Tutu Peace Center (founded in 1998). The DTPC was created to deliver programs that promote conflict resolution and social justice to the marginalized people of South Africa.

For the Lutz and Patmos/Desmond Tutu collaboration, the two also reached out to South Africa’s Hillcrest Aids Center Trust (HACT), which works with local beading artists who are suffering or affected with AIDS, to create the necklace that comes with every “Tutu Sweater.”

Lutz and Patmos were introduced to HACT by artist, filmmaker and Reap What You Sew founder, Nicole Mackinlay Hahn, who had visited HACT and created a video about her experience.

Famous for her “fly on the wall” approach that “brings the voice and humanity of her subjects into sharper focus,” she just happened to shoot this video about a now deceased man from HACT named Sphiwe Dennis Madlala, who was a vital part of the thriving community.

“One year ago, I got an email from Tina Lutz of Lutz & Patmos. Tina was inquiring about apparel production in Africa. I was thrilled to hear that their new guest designer was to be Archbishop Desmond Tutu! I already knew Lutz & Patmos had been dedicating at least one style per season to a charity, and since this project would benefit the Desmond Tutu Peace Center in Cape Town, I shared all my South African contacts.

With a mission statement of ’empowering and uplifting people infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS to become economically self-sufficient through the production of crafts within their own environment,’ I remembered that I had briefly filmed at Hillcrest – maybe an hour or two at the most. To my surprise, I did not have much craft footage, and here is why:

In 2007 I spent two months in Africa gathering anecdotes for my Mirror/Africa project. After a busy month in Madagascar, I had only one day free before moving on to Lesotho, so I decided to fly into Durban to visit the Hillcrest AIDS Center. My friend Tamsin Smith – the founding president of (RED) and long-time advocate of trade ties with Africa – tipped me off to the amazing women beaders and quilters there. I had expected to be moved by mission of this faith based group, but hadn’t expected them to be creating such original and stylish works of art. I think that I shopped more than I filmed that day. But I did document some treasures. I came across a man in the Hillcrest garden, who was planting & potting with great care. He looked like a potential draft for the NBA. However his uniform was a Hillcrest apron and his title was “Horticulturist.” He was very much more than that and his name was Sphiwe. Below is a memoir of this man, given by his twin brother.”

About Sphiwe Dennis Madlala – by Mandla Madlala (Sphiwe’s twin brother):

He was born in December 22, 1978 in Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal and he moved out of Pietermaritzburg to Molweni in 1990 and he died in Molweni. He passed away September 30, 2007, it was on Sunday. He was 32-years-old when he passed away. He had one child before passing away. He liked gospel and R&B. There is a lot of things that Sphiwe did before he died. He started to play soccer for Leken Stars, Swallows, then he moved to Brazil F.C. to play as a striker and the goalkeeper. After two years, Sphiwe became a coach for Brazil F.C., and he liked soccer same as me. He was a good coach for Brazil F.C. He looked after the club and he was a good communicator with the players, and he was also one of the managers of the team. I remember a lot of things that Sphiwe did at that time. The club was playing in West zone league and the club became position 3. When Sphiwe died the club was also finished at that time.

Amy DuFault

Amy DuFault is a conscious lifestyle writer, consultant and fashion instigator. She resides in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.