#SAFW: Thebe Magugu in Vogue on runways and beyond

Fresh from his international Fashion Showcase in London that impressed the likes of Vogue’s editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, Thebe Magugu awakened the crowd at SA Fashion Week (SAFW) last night. 

The collection titled "African Studies" that won him the international fashion showcase award in London and was previewed in Paris did not disappoint and proved to be the perfect fit for the SAFW: The Luxury Collections SS19 theme. 

The luminous high-end women’s wear range comes in colours ranging from strong red to purple, and lime with emerald green with a touch of periwinkle blue. His showcase last night was part of the Woolworths Style by SA  show.

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African Studies, a collection that won Thebe Magugu a top prize in London. Picture: Eunice Driver. 

Magugu, an LMVH Prize finalist talks to us about the collection and the wins he’s secured so far this year.

What’s the inspiration behind the collection? 

African Studies are about merging motives and references about my own culture and history, with the sort of shapes that are quite tailored and forward-looking so it is those two walls that I tried to merge. 

You’re now at an international level, how does that feel? 

People are looking for something new. The international fashion space has long seen European, American and Chinese designers and I think it’s time for a new market. People are captivated by South African and African stories as a whole and that’s what I bring. 

WATCH: Thebe Magugu unveils "African Studies" at SAFW

As a finalist for the LMVH Prize, what does that mean to you and the brand?

It’s such a big honour. I used to watch MTV growing up and all those shows where I would watch Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Givenchy. To be part of a company that owns all these luxury brands is the highest honour I could ever imagine. It has allowed me to grow and that’s incredible because more people get to experience stories from Africa and that gives me a chance to show people what I do and what Africa is all about. 

You’re at the peak of your career, what would you say is your biggest highlight? 

Meeting Anna Wintour is one of them but also being part of major fashion weeks. Last year in September, I did a project with Italian Vogue which has always been a dream of mine and this year I’ll be a major in Paris which is amazing. Every little thing has been so mind-blowing and so inspirational to me.

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This collection was inspired by the designer’s culture and history. Picture: Eunice Driver. 

What’s next for Thebe Magugu? 

I’m focusing on my export business, which is growing. Locally, my label can be found in Woolworths. On the international front, it’s available in France. Bottom line, I want to take the Thebe Magugu brand to the world. That’s my long term vision. 

LVMH Prize is a platform created by Delphine Arnault, the executive vice president of Louis Vuitton to honour and support young fashion designers around the world. 

Tonight you can look forward to seeing the following designers: African Style Story, Isabel De  Villiers Clothing, Judith Atelier, Gert-Johan Coetzee, Erre, and Klipa. 

* SAFW runs until Saturday at the Protea Rooftop in Sandton City. For full schedule visit: www.safashionweek.co.za. 

-The Star

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