Rich Mnisi and Gugu by Gugu win Best Designer at the Africa Fashion Up competition in Paris

Published Jul 1, 2024


From sports to music and fashion, South Africa stays winning.

Internationally-acclaimed fashion designer Rich Mnisi was among the designers honoured at Paris Fashion Week this season as he was named as a Best Designer at the fourth edition of the Africa Fashion Up competition during Haute Couture Week.

Africa Fashion Up is an organisation that focuses on bringing together African creation in Paris by spotlighting young African talents who are shaping the Africa of the 21st century and drawing inspiration from their history and traditions.

Mnisi, who has showcased at Paris Fashion Week under the Tranoi show, took to Instagram to express his gratitude.

Rich Mnisi designs. Picture: Instagram.

“During Haute Couture Week in Paris, the Africa Fashion Up foundation honoured us with the Best African Designer award, selected by a distinguished committee from @balenciaga, @hec_paris, and @galerieslafayette.

“I am profoundly grateful to my incredible team for their unwavering dedication and hard work. Thank you for making this achievement possible,” he said.

Another South African designer, Gugu Peteni of Gugu by Gugu, was also announced as one of the five winners.

Peteni won because of her exceptional designs using Mohair and merino wool.

In her latest collection, “Manufactured, Not Made”, which debuted at South African Fashion Week in April this year, Peteni highlighted the intricate work behind each piece.

“We had fun challenging the stereotype that designers just sketch all day by using our fashion illustrations as prints,” she said.

“I remember my first sewing machine – a vintage Empisal from Facebook Marketplace that barely worked. Yet, with that machine, I launched my business.

“This cotton-knitted sweater pays homage to all the sewing machines, scissors, pins, and patterns that create greatness,” she said, describing one of her masterpieces.

Sewing machine sweater by Gugu by Gugu. Picture: Instagram.

Other African designers who won include Kader Diaby, founder of Olooh Concept (Ivory Coast), Mohamed Youss of Anouri Original (Morocco) and Kadjahdjah of Niuku (Senegal/Mauritania).