Insight into Richie Mnisi.
1st year student, Rich Mnisi has hit the big time in just a few of months of studying at LISOF. He is the pattern developer and all-round middle man for the media personality Dineo Ranaka’s fashion line, Luv,dr. Dineo is also a part-time student at LISOF. Balancing a demanding career and his studies Phendu Kuta delves into what drives this dynamic individual.
When and how did you know that fashion was what you wanted to study?
I chose to study Fashion Design because I feel it is the career I am designated for. It is my God given gift. From an early age I’ve been commended for my creativity and vision and as I grew I developed my own personal style which clearly exhibited my future’s direction. Since 2008 I’ve been designing for people, on request. So it was basically in 2008 that I knew without a doubt that fashion design is what I want to study.
How did u get the gig at Luv,dr (Dineo Ranaka’s fashion label)?
Dineo got an invite to SAFW and she wanted to wear something off the line. The seamtress she had gotten dropped her at the last min, she called Tracey (LISOF’s HR agent) to recommend someone she could work with. Tracey gave her a few of the 1st years and a graduate’s nos. Dineo liked my name for some weird reason…we started working, I made garments perfectly and she told me she wants to arrange a meeting so we can discuss a longterm relationship
What exactly do you do for Dineo?
I conceptualize for her. What I do is develop her patterns and make her impractical patterns practical, lol. I am also part of helping her set the tone for each of her ranges, so I am basically the middle man: Dineo designs, I develop, edit and then it is sent through to the seamstresses.
How does it feel working for a big entertainment industry personality at such an early point in your career, especially since you haven’t even reached 2nd year yet?
I am completely humbled; I had no idea my career would kick start in under 6months of studying. I’ve always secretly undermined myself and actually hid behind my rowdiness but now I’m proud to say that I’m quite talented.
What are the most important lessons in this job experience so far?
There is no progress without a higher power, and God happens to be our guidance as the Luv,dr team, everything we do, we do in the name of Jesus. I’ve learnt that in order to produce quality one has to be attentive and selfless, without that I will lack understanding and do what’s not expected of me. Another is time management, I had to adapt to a fast paced life where I have to give my all and not half-hearted efforts to school and work – sleeping is a rumour in this industry. I think I went into Luv,dr prepared, because with my previous experiences I realised that without a voice of your own you’ll end up compromising yourself for something that is benefiting you with nothing but a reference. I was a costume designer for a movie called Victor Orange, interned with Abigail Betz before Luv,dr so I know my way around the industry by now.
Do u have any advice for fashion students in general?
Stay true to who you are, in order to succeed in this industry you have to captivate your audience. Be confident, strive for the impossible, test yourself, don’t settle for less, swallow your pride; uniqueness, passion and drive will get you anywhere. Sell yourself! You never know when an opportunity will come your way so you always have to be ready. My mother always complains about the hours I spend in the bathroom and the constant wardrobe changes I make for petty things like going to Pick ‘n Pay but I always have to be ready. Even though my style is effortless, I make the effort of looking the part as a fashion student should. Sarah Badat says “do as much internships as you can”. In under 5months I’ve interned for Abigail Betz, Dineo Ranaka (before I became permanent), David Tlale, Ozwald Boateng and Africa Fashion International. Lastly, prioritise, school comes first, because if you think about it, without your knowledge you’re nothing to the industry but just a chancer and chancers don’t last.
Who is your local style icon?
*chokes* this is one of those questions you skip in an exam! Laughing he commits to the question, but no let me not be a coward and answer it… well I don’t have one! I think if I were to focus on a specific somebody I’d lose out on other crazes out there. It’s like having a favourite designer, you become so attached to their work that you unconsciously lose your identity as a designer and become a miniature version of the designer you’re in favour of so uhm I refuse to have a style icon!
Where can people get hold of Dineo’s garments?
At present we haven’t established a website, it’s still under construction, the look she’s going for is insane! What you can do is stay glued to your screens – watch Club808 every Friday and order via sms. Every Friday she wears clothes from her line, Luv,dr, and sells limited editions of these garments every week at a specified rate, these garments are sold via a service called my order: you sms your Name, Surname, Size and preferred colour to 082 956 1985 and we’ll contact you for further details, it is then made, accustomed to your sizes and delivered to your doorstep, nationwide.
Is there any other information you’d like to share about Luv,dr?
It’s going to be big! She’s venturing out into men and children wear, so everyone can own a Luv,dr item. The line also features about 8 ranges, if I’m not mistaken, which cater for every event, personality and age you can think of.
Do you have any goals for the next 5 years and if so, please share
Laughing he states, I hate spilling the beans!I have loads of plans but it would be an honour to work with Dineo beyond this… I’m actually working on something I’ll launch next year; it’s a solo project for my line, Mannequinulated.