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A CLOSE-UP WITH LOCAL DESIGNER: MZUKISI MBANE

Cape Town-based fashion designer, Mzukisi Mbane established his company, Swagger Diariez, in 2011 with no formal training in fashion design. He started making clothes using his mother's sewing machine and now is a rising star in the fashion industry with his eyes firmly set on nurturing his brand Imprint.

What is the concept behind the A/W 2016 Harboring Hope lookbook?

Haboring Hope is not apologetic; it is not about fitting in or being someone you are not.

The collection is inspired by someone who was a late friend of mine – Mpho. An inspirational force that always inspired me to follow my dreams, be myself and keep pushing. You could not be around her and not believe in yourself. She kept my hopes alive.

What was the inspiration behind the styling?

Harboring Hope is a collection inspired and dedicated to changing and challenging the concept of menswear in Africa. Last season we started on a journey, creating gender-bending (unisex) looks. This season we have taken inspiration from various cultural and religious groups. Translating this in a more edgy, futuristic and clean way.

With that being said this collection is rather peaceful and calm, making use of the neutral colour white as well as African prints.

Who are the models you chose and why?

The male model is Lesala who is amazing in front of the camera, understands the brand and what I wanted to communicate.

The female model, Corine, is an international model who I just fell in love with. She is extremely beautiful but also has a boyish look. The idea was that she bridges the gap between the two sexes.

The setting is so pristine, where did you shoot? 

The campaign was shot on the Atlantis sand dunes. A very beautiful location selected by the amazing photographer, Dylan Louw, who shot the look book.

What would you say your ultimate success is? 

Being a young designer who, in one season, was able to show at five fashion weeks in three countries. Ending with one of the shows in Vogue Italia. That was just amazing.

How would you best describe your brand?  

Imprint is best described as a brand that tells and celebrates our stories and the stories of our ancestors. It’s not just about trends, it is about communicating topics that people are not yet ready to speak about. Telling the stories that people would rather forget and creating garments that leave a mark. Imprint is a creative movement.

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