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Rich Mnisi’s collection reflects Tsonga heritage

African designers shape the fashion world

Emmanuel Tjiya S Mag Editor-in-chief
Renowned fashion designer Rich Mnisi.
Renowned fashion designer Rich Mnisi.
Image: Supplied.

Emerging style leaders Rich Mnisi, Lukhanyo Mdingi and Thebe Magugu continue to shape African luxury and puncture the highest echelons of the global fashion industry.

Testament to this is Mnisi’s newest collaboration with active wear brand adidas, with a collection that is deep-rooted in his rich Tsonga heritage and pride. 

Using his distinct signature style, Mnisi injects kaleidoscopic colour, psychedelic prints and bold cuts into the performance wear creations. 

The end result is a 12-piece collection that oozes street-wear pizzazz through bright-hued tights, trendy headgear, bold swimsuits and cool trainers.

While designed in mind with performance tasks ranging from running to cycling, the active-wear balances both functionality and style. It offers fashion lovers a chance to be effortlessly chic and make a bold statement on their Instagram pages.

The affordable luxe collection, fusing recycled materials, will go on sale on February 25.

“I am immensely proud to present this collection in collaboration with adidas, an iconic brand that I grew up seeing on people of colour that were rewriting the arts.

"It has been a pleasure to bring my designs to classic pieces,” Mnisi says.

“We have created a bright, unique collection that reflects my love for the idea of community and heritage, individuality, and self-expression. Our aim was to create pieces that support life on and off the sports field.

“The spirit of this collection celebrates our homeland, so environment was an important aspect when looking at methods and materials used in the creation process. I am so pleased we’ve used adidas’s advanced technology and partly recycled materials. I am truly excited for the world to see this collaboration come to life.”

As the joint winner of the LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton) Karl Lagerfeld prize last year, Eastern Cape-born Mdingi is making all the right moves after debuting his menswear collection at Paris Fashion Week. 

The collection that has garnered the attention of international fashion titles such as Vogue and Women’s Wear Daily was inspired by Mdingi’s newfound love for Burkina Faso. 

“The premise of this season’s presentation is an expansion of the pure spirit of collaboration. A recent period of respite in Burkina Faso will now form the heart of the label's opening showcase BODYLAND,” Mdingi wrote on his Instagram.

“This is a celebration and testimony of the provenance of craft from these human beings, as the central figures through which broadening collaboration across the continent remains ever-possible.

“Design is now used as the vehicle to channel service and purpose. With each new collection, Lukhanyo Mdingi hopes to shine a scope and bring visibility to those that share the spirit of community.

“This as an ode to the sincerity and honesty behind the human hands that are inextricably woven into the DNA of the label.”

Magugu, born in Kimberley in the Northern Cape, has blazed the trail and kicked the door wide open as the first African winner of the LVMH Prize in 2019 (a year later Cape Town-based Sindiso Khumalo was a finalist). 

Magugu on Monday attended the Schiaparelli couture show in Paris, rubbing shoulders with Kanye West and his latest muse Julia Fox. Miley Cyrus, Corinne Bailey Rae, Michaela Coel, Dionne Warwick and Issa Rae have all been spotted in Magugu’s clothing. 

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