What is a typical workday like for you?
I work full time as a Research Scientist, so typically my day sees me go to work for most of the day, then after work I delve myself in all things MNBO I.Y. This mainly involves creating new products, stock inventory or fulfilling orders.
How did you get involved in the fashion industry?
I love to be creative; I love craft and art, so I organically gravitated towards fashion as it encompasses everything I enjoy. I have great love for print fabrics, particularly African print fabrics. To diversify how I wear African print fabric I decided to customise some old earrings with fabric and it all just developed from there. Close family and friends showed a lot of interest in my personal pieces and encouraged me to develop items that I could sell. Before I knew it I had embarked on customising necklaces, bangles, handbags and eventually shoes.
What is the most valuable lesson learned since you first began your own label?
Stay consistent, resilient and don’t be afraid to explore new ideas. Be multi-dimensional, that’s important for brand evolution. Be passionate about your products and make products that you love.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
The fabrics we use really are the inspiration for all MNBO I.Y. designs. Fabrics have variations in colour, texture, detail, design/pattern and origin. They bring complexity and elevation to many of our designs, so it’s hard not to draw inspiration from that.
What makes MNBO I.Y. garments unique?
All our pieces are handmade using fabrics from all over Africa and soon the world. As a brand it is important for us to create great affordable unique custom made pieces.
If you could have a celebrity or famous person through history wearing your clothes, who would it be?
This is a hard question, but I think I would say Rihanna, she embodies uniqueness in fashion. She is bold, creative and is not afraid to push boundaries. That definitely is someone you want representing your brand to the world.
In three words, how would you describe MNBO I.Y. style?
Bold, Distinctive and Versatile
What can we expect to see from you in the near future?
We are currently rebranding MNBO Intulo Yane, and bringing not only custom made fashion accessories, but we are planning on expanding into custom-made stationary and homeware products. It’s a really exciting time, as we are exploring the idea of creating our own unique fabrics, which will evolve collaborations with various artists. So look out for new products and our website.
What advice would you give to young aspiring fashion designers?
Firstly, be bold and believe in yourself and take the time to invest in your skill, be it through a course or seeking advice from seasoned designers. Do ample research, know your target market and most importantly be passionate about your brand. Explore different ways to publicise your products, and use those opportunities to do some vital market research, which will help shape and improve your brand. Lastly, create a great support unit, the journey is not always easy, so you need people that will push and encourage you.
I would like to give huge thanks to Miniver for taking part in this series. Make sure you are following MNBO Intulo Yane on Facebook to stay up to date with all their upcoming news and product releases!
Until next time…