The South African designer looks to empower his country and women through his radical designs
Thebe Magugu is igniting an exciting new energy around South African design. His namesake womanswear label, which was founded in 2016, is recognized for its easy-to-wear pieces, structured dresses, sharp tailoring, and bold use of color. This past fall, the 26-year-old was the first African designer to win the coveted LVMH Prize, a $330,000 award for young talent.
His designs are conceived as a political statement, and a challenge to the outdated Euro-centric view of his country. “I want my brand to feel like a resource to not only the women who wear it but the world at large where they can learn about the histories, people, and events I explore in my work,” says Magugu.
His spring 2020 collection was inspired by the Black Sash, a group of 1950s women who used nonviolent methods of protest against apartheid. “I really admire their bravery—to be able to go against the grain when the grain was the entire country.”
A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2020 Spring Issue under the headline Creative Minds. Subscribe to the magazine.