Condé Nast College was thrilled to host John Muleba, Senior Manager of Global Activations & Strategy at Burberry as a part of the weekly industry speaker series for Vogue Education Presents. BA (Hons) Fashion Communication & Industry Practice student, Damilola Odeyemi, reports…
About John Muleba
Having originally studied Fine Art and English Literature at university, John’s early academic pursuits provided a unique lens through which he views the fashion industry. His diverse journey to fashion pivoted his mantra of ‘failing forward’, where each step, whether a win or a setback, has contributed to a rich, diverse path to success.
John’s early career as Visual Projects Lead UK, Ireland and South Africa at Louis Vuitton, laid the groundwork for his future successes. His roles at Alexander McQueen and as a Creative Lead at It’s Nice That further solidified his reputation as a pioneer in visual innovation and creative leadership. Today, at Burberry, John Muleba is not just a Senior Manager but a mentor, overseeing a team brimming with creative talent. They are responsible for an array of projects, including brand experiences, window displays, and conceptualising innovative pop-ups and events.
Cultivating a non-judgmental atmosphere of open communication and mutual respect, John’s approach to leadership stands out. His diplomatic style ensures everyone’s voice is heard, yet he maintains a clear, unified direction, which is evident in Burberry’s cohesive campaigns. This balance between freedom and guidance has made him a respected figure in the industry.
Central to John’s philosophy are the principles of culture and collaboration. He stressed the necessity of a clear, well-communicated vision that not only directs but also inspires the design team. John fosters a culture of collaboration within Burberry and extends this ethos to partnerships with external creatives. This inclusive approach facilitates a diverse and vibrant pool of ideas, which is essential in the fast-paced and ever-evolving fashion industry.
John Muleba’s Advice to Condé Nast College students
To the students at Condé Nast College, John’s advice was clear and impactful: believe in your ideas wholeheartedly and embody them. It’s about taking responsibility for your creative journey, viewing every experience as an opportunity to learn and grow. He encouraged students to own their ideas, not just in its initial phase but through evolution, understanding that the best ideas often morph and improve with collaboration and time. He asserted that ideas need time to mature and that creativity cannot be rushed.
Reflecting on the creative process, John shared:
“Creativity is not a tap, everyone has their own way of getting to an idea, whether it’s a direct or roundabout way, it’s really about building within the process.”
This statement highlights his belief in organic innovation and the necessity of patience and persistence in the creative journey.
John Muleba’s visit to Condé Nast College was more than just an educational experience; it was a transformative event that offered deep insights into the realms of high fashion and creative strategy. His journey, philosophy, and advice left a lasting impact on the students and faculty, providing a rich source of inspiration and a clear roadmap for success in the dynamic world of fashion.
Words by Damilola Odeyemi, BA (Hons) Fashion Communication student
Images by Annelee Kiliddjian, MA Creative Direction for Fashion for Fashion Media student