Picture: Thobeka Mbane/ Facebook

by Cece Smith

You can’t use the words fashion, creative direction, and style without mentioning the name Thobeka Mbane. Her work is not limited to only socialite celebrities on red carpets; she has dressed high profile models at the South African Fashion Week and Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.  

She owns her distinct quirky vintage flare and it’s safe to call her a fashion guru.
Thobeka is
studying Law through the University of South Africa (UNISA) so she can complete Fashion Law.
Born and raised in Mthatha Eastern Cape, Thobeka inherited her fashion sense from her grandfather who was a fashion. The 30-year-old shares some of her fashion secrets.


What is your definition of stylish?

Stylish for me is a confident and bold sense of fashion 


How do you determine a client’s personal style?

I determine it with their personality


Where do you search for clothes/wardrobe?

Thrift stores, local designers and wardrobe hire agencies


Who are you dying to one day style?

 An international magazine cover but no one specific just a big international cover.


Do you remember your first styling job?

I had a private client that had a wedding to attend about 4years ago.


Had you not been a stylist, which other careers would you go for?

 I’d be fully focused on art still. I have always been good in drawing from a young age so I’d probably just fully focus on painting and other forms of art


What never to wear?

 Something you’re not comfortable wearing 


What are your top five must-have clothing items? 

 High waist pants, polo necks, a suit, comfortable shoes, and a set of pearls.


What would you do if a client insisted on purchasing an ill-fitting item?

 I would compile a mood board of their body type and images of what usually looks on someone with their body type for them to get a clear idea.


Which current trends would you incorporate in your clothing selections?

 Puffy sleeves, Pleats, Leather statement trench coats, and Softer colours for menswear .


What challenges do you face as a stylist?

 Clients with big plans but a small budget. 


Take us through how you end up with a beautiful picture.

 Making sure everything fits well on the client before the due date, get a good team for the client, from a very good makeup artist that I trust to a good photographer 


Who do you admire in your line of work?

 IB Kamara, an amazing stylist from London


What advice would you give an up and coming stylist? 

 Trust your work. 

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