In Conversation: Thebe Magugu

A man of few words, Thebe Magugu is also a man of abstraction, juxtaposition and vision. Ever the optimist, Thebe opens up about his life as an emerging designer. 


What/ Who inspired you to become a fashion designer?

My Mother. Throughout my whole life, she has always placed fashion in an almost celestial realm, always making sure that I understood that it’s not just clothes – it’s a language. I was always thrilled to see what she would wear next, until this very day.

What do you love about being a designer?
The idea of creating a tangible vision from scratch.

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How would you describe your brand and design aesthetic?

My aesthetic relies on juxtapositioning: masculine versus feminine,traditional versus experimental, oversized versus truncated. All these tensions come together to form the Thebe Magugu woman.

What informs your design process and how do you go about starting each collection?

It always starts with an idea. Often abstract, like an object or even a theory , and then refining and exploring how such a non-fashion idea can be broken down into [an] aesthetic principle.

What is a typical day like for you?

Waking up and seeing how I can make my world more beautiful.

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What challenges do you currently face as a young designer, and how do you deal with them?
I think as an emerging designer, sometimes you feel like you’re going against the tide and that there are hardships you hadn’t thought of. But its all part of the growing up process, not only as a brand but as a person as well. As a young designer, you’re thrown into the deep end but the trials and tribulations are all worth it in the end.

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What keeps you motivated?

Seeing my brand go from strength to strength and the end vision.

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Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Heading an amazing multi-disciplinary fashion studio that primarily operates within women’s ready-to-wear but with a firm footing in accessories, cross-industry collaborations and special projects.

What advice do you have for our current Fastrackers?
Every minute counts – don’t rely on instructions to build your brand, simply seize each moment.

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Explore Thebe’s work on

And stay up-to-date on all things Thebe Magugu on Twitter (@_ThebeMagugu_) and Instagram (@thebemagugu).

The above campaign was shot by Paul Samuels.