Designer stands for something different from the norm

Mzukisi Mbane tells African stories through Imprint ZA brand

Fashion designer Mzukisi Mbane will debut his latest Imprint ZA collection at AFI.
Fashion designer Mzukisi Mbane will debut his latest Imprint ZA collection at AFI.
Image: Supplied.

Mzukisi Mbane, renowned for designing modern electric prints under his label Imprint ZA, holds African Fashion International (AFI) close to his heart. 

After all, the platform is where the Khayelitsha-born fashion designer first got noticed in 2015 when he launched his novice collection. He returns to AFI on October 29 and 30 to unveil his summer collection at The Leonardo in Sandton.

What can we expect from your show?

This collection takes into consideration a huge element of being able to sell the pieces. It's still the edgy, futuristic and colorful Imprint story but with a big focus on the end consumer. I started showing with AFI in 2015 in Cape Town and that showcase played a huge role in elevating my brand value and status.

How will you describe your fashion aesthetic?

Imprint is a brand with an Afro-futuristic aesthetic. Not limited to that, the brand is a storytelling tool that I use to tell and celebrate our shared African stories, history and experiences.

Where does your love for fashion come from?

I'm a self-taught designer. My mom used to sew and I grew up with that around me. I’m inspired by people like Kanye West and set out to create a brand that stands for something different from the norm.

Where does your love for prints come from?

It’s more of an evolved version of my love for colour and a need to create a new African print narrative. One where we own our own prints and the stories being told by those prints.

What lesson have you learnt over the years?

To trust in myself and my unique take on things. It is my consistency and the refusal to water down myself to fit in that has given me the opportunity to stand out.

What will most people be surprised to learn about you?

People are usually surprised to find out that I put my first collection while I had a full-time office job as an accountant. I made the decision to resign and the last Friday at work was just a day before my first show at AFI.

Take us through your upbringing?

I was raised by a single mother in a family of five. As the last-born, my mom had me at an older age. Growing up I was nerd, best achiever in high school and merit list at varsity level. I made the decision to explore fashion in 2012 and my mom gave me her old sewing machine and the rest is history.

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