THEBE MAGUGU
ELLE Singapore|July 2020
WINNER of 2019’S LVMH PRIZE, THIS SOUTH AFRICAN DESIGNER’S CREATIONS ARE a WINDOW into CULTURE, CRAFT, HISTORY and HUMAN RIGHTS
ANDREA SIM

Thebe Magugu has always been drawn to storytelling. Growing up in Kimberley, South Africa, he spent his free time writing, taking pictures and sketching. With a little enterprising streak, he turned his love for expressive mediums into a fashion and art magazine (self-published, out of his mother’s office) which he sold at school for a price of R20. The kernel of Magugu’s clothing today — a fine equation of fluid yet strong silhouettes, unabashed hues, vibrant prints and experimental deconstruction — doesn’t fall far from the tree. “I always start the collection with a facet of African or South African history I would like to explore,” says the designer, who is now based out of Johannesburg. “It is with this that I hope my clothes aren’t just beautiful, but inform people about a reality, a character, a circumstance they might not have known.”

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