Luxury African Fashion Brand, Imprint ZA took AFI Cape Town Fashion Week by storm with two different runway collections. One of which was in collaboration with Fashion Revolution SA and AFRICA IS NOW Magazine. The collaborative runway show featured original designs from Imprint ZA styled with our signature AFRICA IS NOW white T-shirt. We caught up with Mzukisi Mbane, the designer behind Imprint ZA to find out how he got started and what inspires him.
When did you know you wanted to become a fashion designer and how did you make this dream a reality?
I’ve always known that I wanted to be a fashion designer. However, life worked out differently. I went off to varsity and studied a BCom Accounting. It was only when I was in my final year that I decided to take a gap year to explore fashion. I began by playing around with my mom’s old sewing machine. And just like that my dream of becoming a fashion designer came to life.
Any advice for aspiring African designers?
Stay true to who you are. Most importantly, find out who you are and what statement you want to make with your clothes. Tom Ford says you have to define yourself, and in so doing, ask yourself why would anyone need what you are creating. There is already so much out there, so why would people want to buy your creations.
Where do you go to find inspiration for your work?
I see my brand as a storytelling tool. Celebrating the stories and glamour of our African ancestors with a very modern and futuristic feel. So for me, inspiration comes from understanding who I am, where I am and where I want to be.
How would you describe your brand’s style and how has your style evolved over the years?
It’s an African luxury brand with an Afro-futuristic aesthetic. When I started, it already had its distinct look and feel, but over the years it has grown to be more about a shared African identity rather than just mine as a Xhosa South African man. Today, the brand reveals my understanding of what it means to be African.
What have you learned about African identity through your work?
Africa is more than its beautiful prints and colours. It’s very rich in culture, history and art, and the beautiful prints and colours are merely symbols of this. Most importantly, Africa has always been and always will be the root that gave life to all. Understanding that has made me able to claim my African identity with such pride and power. My work is limitless.
If you’re not busy working on Imprint, what are you doing?
Chilling with my friends or mostly just catching up on some series.
What’s your favourite hang-out spot in Cape Town?
I’m tempted to say my studio, but it’s got to be anywhere in the township. Any of these new places that are being created with the aim of rebranding the townships.
If you had to describe your AW18 collection in three words, what would they be?
Our Future Africa.