America magazine Essence just hosted its first-ever Essence Best in Black Fashion Awards and South African designer Rich Mnisi snagged the Emerging Designer of the Year honour.

The idea of the award, according to the magazine, is to create a platform that celebrates the best of black people in fashion. Essence says that with Essence Black in Fashion Awards, they are here to change things in the industry.

While a host of popular trends remain rooted in Black culture, we rarely get the credit for birthing them. The CFDA and Vogue Fashion Fund have received criticism for repeatedly snubbing deserving designers of colour. ESSENCE is here to change that.

Rich Mnisi is a fast-rising designer in Africa. He has showcased in major fashion shows including Arise Fashion Week, South Africa Fashion Week, Lagos Fashion Week and others. He also recently dressed former Miss SA Teen, Celeste Khumalo for the cover of Glamour SA.

Mnisi has taken to Instagram, to express his gratitude saying that it’s truly humbling to be honoured by the magazine.

To win the Emerging Designer of the Year @essence Best in Black Fashion awards #BIBFA, where industry pioneers like @badgalriri@theebillyporter@patcleveland@tongorostudio@zerinaakers@zendaya etc are recognized for the amazing work that they’ve done is truly humbling.

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To win the Emerging Designer of the Year @essence Best in Black Fashion awards #BIBFA, where industry pioneers like @badgalriri, @theebillyporter, @patcleveland, @tongorostudio, @zerinaakers, @zendaya etc are recognized for the amazing work that they’ve done is truly humbling. Thank you to @moanaluu for recognising me and following my work from inception. Thank you to my partners @bradleycockrell @woolworths_sa and @boschendalwines for being our co-pilots to open NYFW with Essence today. Even with tears running down my face from all the pain we face in South Africa, I am hopeful that we will come together as a people and create the world we want to live in. I promise to put the same energy I put into my design innovations, into creating sustainable innovations to protect our people. We need each other, it’s all we have. Also a big congratulations to my best friend @thebemagugu for winning the @lvmhprize, you have done it for us all.

A post shared by Rich Mnisi (@therichmnisi) on

Congrats to Rich Mnisi on this win!

Click here to see all the winners on Essence.

Photo credit: Essence