Rich Mnisi’s First Collaboration With Adidas Celebrates Heritage And His Roots

Adidas Rich Mnisi

Rich Mnisi is a South Africa -based contemporary multi-disciplinary brand founded in 2015 by Africa Fashion International Young Designer of the Year 2014, Rich Mnisi. The brand is young at heart and explores the vibrant colour palette of Africa juxtaposed with the world of modern culture and heritage to tell unique stories that traverse the passage of time. Now the adidas x RICH MNISI collection is ready to hit the stores and this a rich, textured collection that lovers of OTT designs and colours will absolutely adore.

.Built to bring a sense of self-celebration into even the hardest  of workouts, this bold range fuses the engineering of adidas with  the fashion sensibility and confidence of Africa’s premiere designer. We caught up with Rich for a quick conversation about the collection.

ELLE: Tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind this collection.

Rich Mnisi: So the collection was really inspired by the idea of unity, and it’s something that as a brand we explore every single season, and just how it comes through. This collection unifies us, in a sense that I could reflect that we all come from the same umbilical cord. So yeah, that was the inspiration behind the collection. And that’s why I like all the print and the colours, which are all very crazy and so chaotic, but you can see that there is a place of harmony in it all, because that’s really the world that we live in. Like, it’s all chaotic, we’re all different human beings. But it comes together. And it’s this that is a middle ground. And that was for any person.

ELLE: What are the synergies between you as a designer and adidas?

RM: Personally, I was very excited, because adidas is a brand that I have loved, since I was a child. Seeing them work with other people of color and iconic people in music industry, which just translated into culture. And the highlight is the three stripes that has embedded itself in memory and just in very important moments in your life, somehow. So when that came together, it’s a brand that celebrates people like me, and it was a perfect match. Because I also wanted to shine a light on my people in my tribe, so it all worked out perfectly.

ELLE: What sort of gap were you looking to close with this collection?

RM: Every time I work on a collection I look for confident people – people that know who they are, know what they want, and know how to communicate when they need help. It is a very bold connection. And I think even the buyer is a bold person in the way that they think and are able to explore bold ideas as well. So that was the person it was designed for.

ELLE: Is there a recurring motif that’s an homage to your culture?

RM: Our culture is known for colour, everyone knows our relationship with colour and also print, a lot of our traditional clothing has floral prints. So those are the things that you see a lot in our second drop. The relationship between florals and clash of colour.

ELLE: How important was being size inclusive in your collection?

RM: Yes. It’s something that I always wanted and when given the opportunity to have a collection that has no boundaries, I think you have to take that opportunity.

Because so many times people don’t see themselves in a lot of things. And it was just such an amazing opportunity to then have people see themselves in everything that we make. And when we started the collection that was the first thing- to create this idea of people being able to take a garment and apply it to their life. And, that didn’t have a size limitation for any human being.

So it’s something that I really wanted to focus on as well.

ELLE:  Is there anything else that you would like and the audience to know about?

RM: I’d like people to buy the whole collection. I think what it symbolizes, this is the first time that a collection like this exists from an African designer, from a queer designer. And also just the fact that it spans so many business units within adidas, it just makes it even more special because it’s not a shy collaboration and something that’s meant to be bold and tap different people from a business perspective, and people who just want to express themselves on a day to day basis. And I think I just want to shine a light on what this collection actually represents. It just represents a brighter future for other creators that come after this collaboration and what it means.

The collection is available online and in select stores.

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