South Africa’s vibrant fashion scene has taken center stage at Paris Fashion Week with a resounding win! Two talented designers, Rich Mnisi and Gugu Peteni of Gugu by Gugu, were among the designers crowned Best Designer at the prestigious Africa Fashion Up competition.

This annual event, held during Haute Couture Week, spotlights rising stars from the African continent, providing them with a platform to showcase their creativity and cultural heritage on a global stage.

The jury, comprised of esteemed fashion professionals from powerhouses like Balenciaga, HEC Paris, and Galeries Lafayette, were clearly impressed by the creativity and talent coming out of South Africa.

Rich Mnisi, a renowned designer known for his bold prints and vibrant colours that celebrate his South African heritage, emerged victorious.

Rich Mnisi Designs. Photo Credit: Armand Dicker/Instagram
Rich Mnisi Designs. Photo Credit: Armand Dicker/Instagram

Gugu Peteni, founder of the label Gugu by Gugu, also won recognition for her captivating designs that blend modern silhouettes with traditional African textiles.

Gugu by Gugu Designs. Photo Credit: Retang Sebeka/Instagram
Gugu by Gugu Designs. Photo Credit: Retang Sebeka/Instagram

Both Mnisi and Peteni’s aesthetics pay homage to their cultural roots. Mnisi’s designs are often characterized by a combination of contemporary streetwear and high fashion, resulting in a fresh and distinctive look. Peteni, on the other hand, is known for her exceptional designs using Mohair and merino wool, and her ability to create modern, wearable pieces that empower Gender-neutrality.

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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).

This win is a testament to the burgeoning talent and creativity within South Africa’s fashion industry. South African designers are increasingly gaining recognition for their unique aesthetics, innovative use of textiles, and commitment to cultural storytelling. This award serves as an inspiration to aspiring designers across the continent and reinforces South Africa’s position as a major force in the global fashion landscape.