Since its inception in 2014, multi award-winning designer Rich Mnisi’s eponymous brand continues to be one of the most influential luxury fashion labels to come out of Africa. Whether it’s defining popular culture or drawing inspiration from it, Rich Mnisi continues to get high praise and consumer buy-in from the public.
The fashion brand has undoubtedly been growing significantly in popularity over the last few years. From the coveted RICH MNISI classic jumper to the Coca Cola collection, the label’s eccentric ready-to-wear fashion pieces have appealed to a young, affluent audience.
Hipster South Africans are buying his garments and proudly so, despite them being in the high price range category. So, just how is the brand appealing to this particular market, especially during this tough economic climate? And, is the brand really worth the hype and is the hype worth the price tag?
In a viral social media video, media personality Bonang Matheba joked about Rich Mnisi garments being “2 million” which alluded to their hefty price tag… yet the collections continue to sell fast and even sell out. Watch her refer to that here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgqySH-Jh5E
Check out Bonang Matheb and Rich Mnisi interview each other below.
But, what really catapulted Mnisi to the next level was when he was chosen to dress The Queen – global fashion and singing icon, Beyoncé. This made the brand super hot. And she’s not the only international celeb who desires his ensembles. See who else here: https://citizen.co.za/lifestyle/fashion-and-beauty/2435962/5-international-celebs-who-love-rich-mnisi/
The multi-award-winning designer debuted his first collection for 2021 titled Hiya Kaya 21 in February. Inspired by the vaTsonga culture, the collection mixes bold prints with sophisticated silhouettes and reimagines street style in a modern African context. One of the most talked about items from the collection was the xibelani skirt. A xibelani is commonly worn by women from the vaTsonga culture for dancing or special occasions. Prices for a regular xibelani range between R500 and R2000, depending on the length and size. Rich Mnisi’s xibelani skirt sold out in a week for the grand price of R59,999!
What makes Mnisi’s garments different is not only the masterful design but also the flawless craftsmanship. Take the xibelani skirt for example, which is crafted from 5km of 100% merino wool, knotted onto nickel-plated d-rings attached to a leather belt made of 100% genuine calf Nappa leather. Merino wool is a unique type of floccus made from one of the most historically relevant and economically influential breeds of sheep found in Spain. Other luxury brands, such as Michael Kors, often use it in their pieces, while genuine calf Nappa leather is used by brands such as Versace and Prada.
Another reason why Rich Mnisi is top of his game is that we are living in an era where people value buying locally sourced products – we have been conscientised towards sustainable fashion and this also means looking to our own country for design talent. Proudly made in South Africa. Rich Mnisi authentically tells the story of contemporary African fashion as it is evolving, whilst still honouring our history, culture and heritage. It offers a reflection of African people – our expression, uniqueness and vibrance. People connect to the brand because it is both an inspirational and aspirational brand. Not only do they see themselves in Rich Mnisi the person, but they also see their stories and reality in Rich Mnisi the brand. Some may not afford it, but they aspire to own a garment as a symbol of having made it.
The brand needs to focus even more on better connecting with their online audience. Rich Mnisi can still fully leverage its popularity to grow their audience. A brand strategy that focuses more on personality will acquire new customers. They need to reach out more and create more awareness. The designs are truly undeniably one-of-a-kind but it’s really what the brand represents that people feel connected to. But, Rich Mnisi is a symbol of what African designers are capable of achieving.
Image credit: Rich Mnisi