THEBE MAGUGU is a South African fashion label launched in 2016 by one of fashion's brightest star, Thebe Magugu. The brand offers ready-to-wear collections as well as diverse capsule projects that explore parallel concepts.
The fashion icon, who is well-versed in the craft, never fails to deliver stunning pieces, with each collection having its own significance. As a child growing up in the South African cities of Kimberley and Johannesburg, Thebe Magugu was exposed to a variety of African tribes and traditions. The distinct beauty of his homeland has always influenced his design work.
The skilled fashion guru is constantly drawn to stories that are unusual but at risk of being overlooked. Magugu sought to keep this attitude alive in his latest effort by designing a clothing for each of South Africa's eight major tribes: Zulu, Tswana, Swati, Vhavenda, Pedi, Xhosa, Tsonga, and Sotho. According to Thebe, A dress is more than just a piece of clothing; it is a major carrier of meaning, history, and culture. He cleverly uses fashion, a language that many understand, to educate and encourage those who own and wear them.
Thebe's most recent collection, "The Heritage collection," embraces diverse South African traditions, complicating any simplistic or monolithic views of African or South African culture that his European and American audience may have. The unique prints that adorn the line of the eight Heritage collection dresses were created by local illustrator Phatu Nembilwi. Thebe sought the help of the young South African illustrator for her to interpret the eight tribes featured in the collection, through her unique vantage point.
Thebe's fashion is always contextualized, not just through the texts that accompany each collection, but also through videos that dig out the quirks and expand on them in meaningful ways, resulting in a new artistic form of expression. With the Heritage collection this has been achieved through a series of images styled by Chloe Andrea Welgemoed, which see the models posing with oversized objects, sometimes of cultural significance, such as a shell.
The Heritage collection is a free flowing and comfortable dress and can be worn by everyone as it's nothing like silhouette that dictates to the body. Thebe, summaries the styling of this collection as "conservative". The dresses are long, with bishop sleeves and a pussy bowtie detail that wraps the dress tightly around the neck.
These contrasting stylistic details are not unusual for Thebe Magugu as his fashion tends to move between two aesthetic poles, which he attributes to being influenced by his grandmother and other maternal figures.