As much as the year of Covid-19 brought heartbreak, tears and anxiety, it was offset by some positives, where creatives were forced to innovate and collaborate.
Rich Mnisi is testament to what can be achieved when following through with a glass-is-half-full attitude.
Aside from launching his premium range of Swarovski-embellished masks during the hard lockdown, in October, he partnered with singer-songwriter, Josh Middleton, for an exclusive photo shoot.
Josh Middleton dress by Rich Mnisi. Picture: Supplied
The musician was dressed in bright pieces from his latest season, Alkebulan, which appeared at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Berlin.
On thriving in a time when the challenges seemed insurmountable for many, Mnisi said: “The lockdown has indeed been a difficult time but it has also afforded me the opportunity to pause and dedicate time to a deep-dive exploration of my heritage and to produce a heartfelt love letter to the VaTsonga people through my Hiya Kaya SS21 collection.
“The collection pays homage to my heritage, while specifically celebrating its women and the powerful role they have played throughout history and to this day. I have always escaped to my art, especially during the most difficult times, and this lockdown period has been no different.”
Rich Mnisi at Volvo’s recently-held #HiddenGem campaign. Picture: Supplied
As for his recent collaboration with Volvo, he said, “When Volvo approached me with this concept of fusing my art with their slick Volvo XC40 design, I was immediately excited by the idea. I have always hoped that my art could be expressed in various mediums, and not just fashion. Volvo has afforded me that opportunity through their #HiddenGem campaign.”
He added: “We used one of our signature prints, the zebra print. Zebras embody community, freedom, balance and individualism which represents the brand and it made for a chic, simple and impactful design.”
When asked whether he has latched onto a new trend with fashion designers partnering with car brands, Mnisi offered: “(Ndebele artist) Esther Mahlangu has definitely been a pioneer and inspiration to me in this field. I hope more and more artists explore different canvases for their art. Who knows, maybe next will be an aeroplane.”
Shedding light on his upcoming projects, he revealed, “I have recently just released some ready-to-wear pieces from my collection available on shop.richmnisi.com with popular pieces like the New Classic Tee, the Uhuru Polo shirt and shorts, the Suffragette Shirt Dress, and the Hair Comb Shirt. I am currently working on some exciting statement pieces for the summer that I hope our clients will enjoy.”
Talk about a colourful approach to a grey situation. It is certainly paying off for this award-winning fashion designer!