Imprint Ikhaya expands concept of home with its decor
Items include rugs, ottomans and lamp stands
Audacious fashion designer and founder of Imprint ZA, Mzukisi Mbane’s desire to furnish Mzansi homes with bespoke house fittings is no longer just a dream.
Mbane on Sunday debuted a first look at his signature decor collection, under Imprint Ikhaya, at Usurpa Gallery in Riviera, Johannesburg, in front of an intimate crowd that included Pabi Moloi, Bokang Montjane-Tshabalala, Thula Sindi, Alphi Mkhwanazi, Thobeka Mbane and Mpumelelo Dhlamini.
The Afro-futuristic luxury brand in recent years has garnered a loyal local following and piqued the interest of international festivals in New York and Milan.
Imprint Ikhaya launched in collaboration with Capetonian rug and flooring store Airloom. The partnership originally featured mats with the signature Imprint textiles. But after some convincing, the home decor capsule expanded to include ottomans, lamp stands and couches.
“The concept began with rugs, and I reached out to Airloom. They were excited but also hesitant. We did a lot of convincing on our side," Mbane said.
“But once we won them over, they loved the prints. And had the idea to grow the collaboration from it simply being rugs to include the ottomans and lamp shades.”
Self-taught Mbane admits that transitioning his distinct prints from wardrobe must-haves into bespoke furniture pieces has been something he wanted to create before fashion design. Homeware has always been his first love.
“Even before thinking about Imprint Ikhaya, I’ve always been a person who loves beautiful spaces and unique pieces. When I moved to Johannesburg from Cape Town, I was so excited to move into my space and I had most of my pieces custom-made,” he said.
For his showcase, Mbane transformed digital fine art NFT gallery Usurpa into a culinary feast of visual artistry and content creation hotspots. Portraits from his look-book framed into screens formed part of the visual installations and at a closer listen you could hear Mbane's voice narrating the pieces.
The thoughtfully curated space resembled an intimate living room. The real-life foliage, scatter cushions, rugs and throws brought the inspiration of Imprint Ikhaya from the runway into the floor runners.
“Last year we did a collection called Buyeli’ ekhaya which explores the concept of homecoming,” Mbana said.
“Through Imprint Ikhaya, we are continuing with the exploration and expanding the concept of home; for many people home is the place to bond with others; for others ikhaya [home] is a place that they find later in life through belonging, the people that they meet and self-acceptance.
“It’s no longer simply about making the clothing but creating a home for people. Challenging the traditional norms of gender, masculinity and feminism.”
Then came the fashion upstairs, with guests seated on wooden benches and crooner Ntsika serenading them with Afro-pop tunes as models strutted in Imprint creations.
The collection featured loud and neon colour clashing prints in knitwear, cotton and sheer fabrics. Models walked the wooden balcony into the room in gender non-conforming ready-to-wear and resort pieces. Then, as the models took their final walk and Mbane took his bow, the heavens opened and it started raining heavily.
“It’s a natural progression of growing up,” Mbane said when asked why the timing was perfect to go into home decor.
“I’m at a place in my life where I appreciate my space which is ikhaya lam [my home]. I’m more invested and interested in the pieces that I put in my home and the people around me. It’s not simply a business decision.”
Like his fashion line, Imprint Ikhaya boasts strong beliefs in inclusivity and meeting everyone at their price level.
“Even if you go back to the stuff we do, we have the affordable range. We have always been conscious with our clothing that we have a huge market that wants to be part of the brand but cannot necessarily afford a R6k or R8K dress. We always have an element of being price inclusive,” Mbane said.
“I believe what makes Imprint ZA distinct is that I have always been conscious of how the brand started and the reasons behind it. My idea of fashion and its world has always been foreign to me growing up in the township. So, a large part of the approach to design is the price points because it factors in who that person is and their aspirations to be something some day.”
Would you like to comment on this article?
Register (it's quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.