Any excuse to talk about luxury fashion in the South African fashion premise, Rich Mnisi is bound to be part of the conversation. Influential as a brand, storytelling at its peak, blueprint of culture, furniture, Rich Mnisi personifies all that.
Rich Mnisi was born in 1993, in Kempton Park South Africa. he graduated from the LISOF school of fashion in 2014, and he started his brand in 2015 and the rest is history. His brand embodies African traditional tones and his luxurious fashion offering is well crafted, the masses approve of his tailoring and his skill set when it comes to design but the prices are hefty.
This discussion was brought up to my attention when I saw the recent collaborative effort that he put out with Rendani Nemakhavhani AKA PR$DNT HONEY. An artist and an illustrator, she also dabbles in graphic design, and art direction, and is a creative consultant. They put out a black t-shirt that screams pro black with its screen printed art at the back and a mini Rich Mnisi branding at the front using a radiant pink as their secondary color. the trigger point of this t-shirt is its pricing, it costs R3000. I totally understand that the pricing of this piece of clothing might have been intentional or many factors were considered when pricing this offering, like the cost per wear, the usage of natural fibers, rare manufacturing techniques, higher cost of labor, exclusivity, branding, and advertising, haute couture. But for a blank tee and a tutorial-based screen printing method, those factors can surely be shied away from. the manufacturing of any form of high-end furniture can adhere to those rules, i actually want the Vumboni 1 (Testimony), 2021 couch that’s made of sheepskin and leather in my Scandinavian-inspired apartment, I would pay any price if I enquire.
In all honesty, I think Rich Mnisi is overpriced because his name starts with “Rich”, banter. I think it’s overpriced because he adheres to the capitalistic approach of survival “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer” in this scenario, not everyone is the target market but the people with excess money to buy get to fully experience the art, the story-telling, the instant social media gratification and the social praise from people within the same range of net worth. Blank t-shirts are a canvas, an open mic, a vessel but not a negotiation table of changing the masses’ narrative on how Haute couture prices can just be imposed on any other form of clothing in the name of art.