adidas unveiled its debut line with South African contemporary fashion designer, Rich Mnisi. The collection features a line-up of beautiful, bold pieces that celebrate Rich Mnisi’s Tsonga heritage with pieces that support a range of sports including running, cycling, swimming, and training.
In this exclusive GLAMOUR interview, the creative talks to us about the collaboration on a collection of performance pieces, paying homage to his Tsonga heritage and his favourite item from the collection.
How did the opportunity with adidas global come about, and how do you feel about this collab?
We received a mail from adidas reaching out to us about collaborating on a collection of performance pieces and streetwear in the beginning of 2020. I am immensely proud to present this collection in collaboration with adidas, an iconic brand that I grew up seeing on people of color that were rewriting the arts. It has been a pleasure to bring my designs to classic pieces. Together 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 supports life on and off the sports field.
How long did it take to put this collection together and how would you describe the process of putting this range together?
We started in the first quarter of 2020, and it was such a joy working with the team at adidas – they were always aware of me and what I had to say.
Was it easy to plug into the Performance range seeing as your collection spans across Sport & Lifestyle?
It was a shift but a necessary one because I had to unthink everything I knew about functionality – the movement of the body in a sports context surpasses the limitations created in normal ready-to-wear (which is what I do), so it was good to be challenged. Overall, it was a very exciting process plugging into the performance range and to see the story play across a collection that spans beyond fashion into technical sportswear.
Why was it important for this collection to celebrate your Tsonga heritage?
Each RICH MNISI collection pays homage to my family, celebrating my culture and heritage. And this collection is no different.
What is your favorite piece from your collection?
The ULTRABOOST is 🔥🔥🔥
Is there more we can expect from you in 2022 after an incredible start to the year?
Yes. At RICH MNISI, Impossible is Nothing. 😉
Will we be seeing a sustainability angle in your collections going forward?
Absolutely. As a global brand growing in South Africa, a country that is committed to the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, we increasingly must find creative ways to respond to market challenges, and the legislative framework that governs our business practices both locally and internationally. Our track record as RICH MNISI illustrates our commitment to finding the balance between sustainability and growth. We not only try as far as possible to use ethically sourced materials, but we also focus on improving the lives of the people and communities directly involved in our production line.
What would you say to an aspiring designer with all the knowledge you have now?
Adapt your skills to the times you live. Be consistent, persistent and learn as much as you can. Also, it won’t be easy.
The Rich Mnisi collection is be available at adidas.co.za and at adidas retail stores.