Founded in 2016 by Thebe Magugu, the designer’s eponymous label is a contemporary South African brand producing women’s ready-to-wear and accessories. Named by Vogue as “one of the industry’s most promising minds,” Magugu incorporates values of quality, novelty and culture into his artistic expression and uses motifs from Africa’s storied past to provide sleek, multi-faceted clothes to the women who wear them.
The Johannesburg-based designer is determined to create clothes that have the power to shift perceptions of South African identity, specifically social expectations placed on modern women. His designs are progressive and complex; they portray a futuristic contradiction towards traditional feminine silhouettes. Speaking to Vogue about his aesthetic, he explained, “When people hear South Africa, they attach certain stereotypes to it. They associate it with generic prints and proportions, and that’s a part of a larger issue which overlooks the vast contributions that South Africans have made to global culture, be it medical, technological, or artistic.” Magugu’s presentation of South Africa provides fresh context to the often misinformed Western understanding of the country’s design landscape, and his collections offer an innovative and modern take on contemporary classics.
In 2019, Magugu won the LVMH Prize, making him the first designer from the continent to take home the accolade. That same year he was also selected as one of several finalists for the prestigious annual Woolmark Prize.
- International Woolmark Prize, Finalist, 2021
- LVMH Prize, Winner, 2019
- International Fashion Showcase, Winner, 2019