We tend to imagine fashion designers having larger than life personas, but Rich Mnisi is a far more demure kind of guy. When he goes upstairs to change for our BAYEZA video shoot, he emerges not in one of his own elaborate creations, but an understated grey polo neck, white washed skinnies and a pair of sneakers. He’s ready to dive into the day’s work, and there’s certainly a lot to be done – he and fellow designer Thebe Magugu are mid-way on a collaborative collection which they’ll unveil at the South African Menswear Week in July.
After winning the AFI Young Designer Award in 2014, Rich was flung into the deep end with the sudden pressure of defining his aesthetic, launching a label, and the necessary self-motivation and business smarts it requires to break even. Last year he rebranded from OATH to start working under his own name, a decision that saw him grow into his own as a designer. Offsetting his naturally introverted nature, the Rich Mnisi label exudes a low-key confidence through sharp, gender-fluid silhouettes. Without question, he’s one of the most interesting young designers to come out of South Africa in recent years.
In this video, we step inside Rich’s dream world to chat about his journey in fashion and why we need more local support for the arts.
Photographs of Rich by Travys Owen at Lampost.
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