Rich Mnisi's Adidas Collab Tells the Story of His South African Homeland
20 January 2022
Since its inception seven years ago, the Rich Mnisi label has always put South African culture at the forefront of its designs, which encompass both fashion and furniture. Its namesake founder offers up striking pieces with colorful twists that express his Tsonga heritage.
Adidas reached out to Mnisi about collaborating on a collection of performance pieces and streetwear that fused their respective expertises — Adidas' technical prowess and Mnisi's skill with bold prints. "In the early stages we were thinking it would be more lifestyle looks, but the more we collaborated and explored it felt so right to bring the Rich Mnisi designs and patterns to adidas’ sports performance pieces," Misi tells PAPER. "Together we would design, iterate, and evolve each piece across the space of a few months."
Indeed, the collection features vibrant clashing colors, bright animal prints and abstract details — all patterns and color palettes that Mnisi grew up around. "My identity comes through in how they all come together in every piece," he says. "There are no limits to how we applied the colors. It’s bold and doesn’t follow any rules."
Pieces span categories including tennis, swimwear and running, all categories Mnisi has never dabbled in before, which allowed him to push his own boundaries. "It’s exciting to see the story of my roots play out across a collection that spans beyond fashion into technical sportswear," he says.
His heritage and identity also play out in the campaign visuals, which feature his close circle and members of his local community in South Africa. "My ethos as a designer is so heavily influenced by my upbringing and the Tsonga community," he says. "They celebrate themselves through the textures and colors of their clothes and are very proud of who they are."
The collection bows in February 2022 and will be available on adidas.com.
Photos courtesy of Adidas