Mzukisi Mbane, the owner and head designer at the Afro futuristic luxury brand Imprint, says his role as a business owner and employer is all-encompassing.
“I am involved in every process,” he says.
This means developing the vision for his company and brand, as well as being actively involved in every aspect of running the business, from design and production to inspiring and nurturing employees as well as connecting with customers.
“I’m part of the team. My understanding of great leadership is one that inspires everyone in the organisation to be their best self and work towards a common goal.”
This entails leading from the front and encouraging growth.
Mbane says his main leadership principles are honesty, accountability and transparency.
“Everything else flows from these main principles, and because of them, everyone does what they are supposed to even if no one is looking,” he adds.
Among some of the lessons he has learnt since launching Imprint more than
five years ago, is the value of being approachable and leading by example.
“The people you are leading need to feel like they can talk to you, that they can call you out should they have to and that you are part of the team. Second one and maybe most important one got to be leading by example.”
Fashion is not just about garments. The industry exists at the intersection of art, culture, politics and economists.
As a result, leaders in the fashion industry have an impact that goes beyond fashion
“Most times we underestimate the power of influence we have. So, the one thing that is always top of my mind is being responsible in how I use my voice,” adds Mbane.
He also believes in fashion as a force for change.
“Imprint has always been about providing opportunities to creatives, students, models and more who come from disadvantaged communities. My motivation has always been about the power of giving someone an opportunity. And the magical effect that has to a child who comes from a place where something is never for them.”
Imprint also supports community organisations, and recently partnered with a community organisation in Khayelitsha, Cape Town to donate face masks to people who cannot afford to buy them.
“I use my fashion, social media platform to speak and influence change. To fight the current injustices that people of colour all over the world still face today.”