into rich mnisi's bold new underworld | House and Leisure

into rich mnisi's bold new underworld

If you haven't seen it yet, you’re about to fall in love with Rich Mnisi's new look book — an otherworldly trip to the spirit realm that explores the memory of his late great-grandmother, Nwa-Mulamula. In the look book, models become alien fashion creatures, dressed in the hypermodern, hyperluxe looks from Rich's ‘transeasonal’ 2018 collection, while sporting prosthetic pixie ears and elaborate headgear.[/embed] House and Leisure caught up with Mnisi from his home in Johannesburg's Maboneng precinct, where he talked us through the inspiration behind the long-awaited look book, and his connection to his ancestors. ‘I never met my great-grandmother, and there are no photos of her, and no one knows when she was born, so I started investigating the idea behind her, and how I can tell her story, and the other untold stories like Nwa-Mulamulas,’ Mnisi explains.[/embed] Most of the collection is black — a major break from the designer's colour-filled previous collections. ‘The reason it’s black is because we went to the ancestral realm, the "upside down" realm. The pixie ears become the distorted ideas of the truth that I found when I went looking, and start becoming these dark spaces of fictional, and distorted ideas that I have used to invent her. ‘The only access I had to her memory was sourced from conversations, so I could also begin under- or overdressing her based on how much information I had,’ he says.[/embed] The collection is 'transeasonal’ – a response, Mnisi says, to the local climate and international demand for his work. ‘I don’t work with seasons, we don’t really have a winter in South Africa, unlike Europe, ours always clashes, so it makes it easier to appeal to both markets at the same time without being a year late every time. It means that half of the clothes are intended for winter, and the other half for summer, and I leave that decision up to the buyer.’ Check out the full collection at