The conversations continue and like I said I will be checking up on suitable people in the sartorial society and hear how the holding up during this COVID-19 outbreak.
I decided to take a digital short-left to Ethekwini to check up on Prince Mkhize who has been doing really well and hear how this pandemic has affected him.
Brian Lehang: How’s things your side since the outbreak?
Prince Mkhize: Business is on a standstill brother
Brian Lehang: And how has that affected you?
Prince Mkhize: Greatly! It has affected the cash-flow movement
Brian Lehang: I’m guessing you had orders to get to…
Prince Mkhize: It’s scary, people cancelling their wedding and graduations.
Brian Lehang: I’m assuming you have employees that are under your payroll. How are you dealing with that?
Prince Mkhize: Unfortunately I was forced to lay off staff as the business won’t be able to pay them during these testing times
Brian Lehang: Did you have any travel plans?
Prince Mkhize: I did, both locally and internationally
Brian Lehang: Care to fill me in on where and when?
Prince Mkhize: This month, I was mean to travel to Turkey for business
Brian Lehang: And what happened with your paid flight tickets?
Prince Mkhize: I got a voucher for 12 months
Brian Lehang: That’s better, at least it gives you time for rescheduling once things settle down. You are quite versatile when it comes to menswear, from being the face of menswear brands to having a suits business. How do you juggle the two?
Prince Mkhize: More than anything it is passion for menswear fashion and ultimately it’s a lifestyle and that’s probably why it comes natural and authentic. However, the goal for Price Bespoke is to only collaborate with brands that are in sync with suits at large like grooming products and menswear accessories. With that said I won’t be collaborating with brands that are contradicting or clashing with me as a brand as well as my business.
Brian Lehang: It’s commendable how you juggle the two, which brings the question of you being a model and/or influencer?
Prince Mkhize: I believe I do both
Brian Lehang: Since being a model. You get a brief of what the campaign is for, do you choose which ones to do and not do?
Prince Mkhize: I do. Even with influencer gigs, I don’t just take any gig given regardless of how much it pays. Keep in mind that being an influencer is like being an ambassador of that particular brand meaning you are as good as the face of the brand. So it is important to make sure the brands you collaborate with don’t clash in a sense that they’re in a competitive level. For example I can’t be an ambassador for Checkers and six month later I’m the face of Pick ‘n Pay.
Brian Lehang: Did you do designing, academically?
Prince Mkhize: Yes, but just a crash course
Brian Lehang: Now with having showcased an intimate collection from Prince Bespoke earlier, tell me more about that?
Prince Mkhize: It was for the first time last year. It was basically to launch our store and building up to the Vodacom Durban July
Brian Lehang: That’s great, and how important is it to showcase?
Prince Mkhize: Very important! It’s not only brand awareness; it’s showcasing your creative genius. Also, it helps with aligning yourself with competition and ultimately surpassing them
Brian Lehang: And for sartorial menswear do you think it’s still important or rather necessary and do you think suits are reaching an age on extinction on the runways?
Prince Mkhize: I beg to differ, although the interpretations are different but there is a growing demand
Brian Lehang: We have witnessed the rise of street-wear which has held on to dominate the fashion scene. My take is that this was influenced by multiple collaborative forces of top lux-fashion brands and celebrities, and as a result this played a major role in shifting trends. With that said, we saw less and less of suits on the runway. In South Africa, it’s only a handful of brands that would showcase a full display of suits. I’m talking of Fabiani; C-Squared; Viyella; Ephimol, and these brands have a higher workmanship to produce such collections. Don’t you think it’s due to the fact that suits demands more labor and time?
Prince Mkhize: Well, there was a time in Mzansi whereby people lost faith and trust in black tailors and designers in the sartorial space and that’s one of the reasons was lack of commitment and discipline to workmanship. No offence but back then I would never go to a black tailor or designer for a suit but now all of that has changed and the suit game is elevating with or without being on the runway.
Brian Lehang: You have been around this game brother; I almost forgot you were at Tailor Me. What was your role there and what were your duties?
Prince Mkhize: I was the assistant creative director and I would assist with the collection for the upcoming shows. We’d also be brainstorming on upcoming campaigns what new style to bring in for different seasons.
Brian Lehang: Looking at what we are going through not just as a country but globally, we live and learn. What have you learned and how would you approach life (personal & business) in the future if such hits us again?
Prince Mkhize: Business – I’ve learned that it’s imperative to have contingency plans. I’d rather be over prepared than under prepared. And to always think out of the box, best businesses are those thought completely out of the box
Personally – It could be all over in a blink of an eye, I never forget why I’m here; I always treasure the little things and those that constantly choose me. Life is precious and should not be taken for granted.
Until next time, stay safe at home