I recently had the opportunity to pop into the OATH Studio to catch up and chat to designer Rich Mnisi. We spoke about all things fashion, design and of course the #MyFabulous Skip campaign.
Who is Rich Mnisi?
I’m a 23 year old, born and raised in Kempton Park, Johannesburg I graduated at LISOF with a BA in Fashion Design and Business Management and in September 2014 I decided to establish a menswear and womenswear fashion brand, OATH Studio. Having received my kickstart after being announced as one of the winners of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Joburg AFI Fastrack in 2014, I was later named AFI Young Designer of the Year 2014 at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa. All the accolades prompted me to believe in the brand and the potential it has. Going into fashion was purely based on my interest in the world of beautiful things, I love design and all creative forms and fashion gives one the ability to provide others with tools to enhance their daily expressions and story telling. It’s very interesting to observe how each individual interprets an item of clothing in their own quirky way.
What sparked your interest in fashion?
I’ve always been into design but the ability to see the different interpretations of your work live through the lives of people whose main aim is to express themselves in ways unique to them was very intriguing.
When did you know you wanted to be a fashion designer?
The minute I discovered what I could do with fashion.
Tell us a little more about the OATH brand.
OATH Studio is a menswear and womenswear clothing brand that caters to the young at heart. It represents progressive design elements that are inspired by pop culture, be it music, art or film, the stories get integrated into the process.
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
A minimalist template that has quite an extroverted energy.
Where do you go for inspiration?
I do a lot of research and almost everything I see when taking walks gives me a little something to incorporate into my work. From the structure, to the colors and the cultures that exist, it all comes together in the end.
How does Johannesburg inspire you?
Beyond the typical buildings, the people that occupy these buildings represent so many opinions and feelings as well as stories so they give the city its electricity.
How would you describe your personal style?
I’m a white T, jeans and an OATH Studio Jacket type of guy.
What was some of the inspirations that stood out for you from the MyFabulousJHB submissions?
The different interpretations and views each person had of the same structure. I noticed that one building did not have the same meaning for everyone else, they all shot it from different angles, saw it’s beauty from a variety of distances. Some didn’t even pay attention to the building but the scribbling made on it by the public.
How has the design process of the MyFabulousJHB been thus far?
It’s been a lot of fun, definitely took me out of my comfort zone and made me view the creation process a bit differently mainly because you’re creating something that has been inspired by the visual senses of others as well as your own. Picking the colours, the structure/silhouette to go with felt different.
Can you give us a little sneak peek of what to expect on the 13th August when the range is revealed.
It’s a very preppy collection but with the OATH Studio quirk of course. Still also captures the minimalist yet bold attitude and has opulence streaming right through it with its delicate textures and details.
You’ve achieved so much within such a short space of time. Winning the AFI Fastback 2014 emerging designer title, as well as showcasing at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Do you have any advice for young designers?
Based on my current experience, I’d say do a lot of research, be a part of the industry, know all the right people and give yourself a chance. It’s ok to make a mistake but be sure to learn from them.
What’s next for you professionally?
OATH Studio is still very new so at the moment we’re working really hard to develop it even further and configure it.