African spirituality meets design in Thebe Magugu's latest collection

Image: Tatenda Chidoro/Thebe Magugu

Girls with machetes are the new girls with guns in Thebe Magugu’s latest Paris Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2021 film.

Shot in Johannesburg, the collection has been causing a buzz for its fun storyline and fight scenes. Magugu collaborated with videographer Kristen-Lee Moolman, who also shot his spy-inspired collection for the Spring/Summer 2021 fashion film.

Titled “Alchemy”, the collection explores the changing face of African spirituality. With more young people becoming vocal about it, Magugu was inspired to find modernity in the indigenous.

The fight scenes in Thebe Magugu’s Paris Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2021 film have got people talking.
KICK-ASS The fight scenes in Thebe Magugu’s Paris Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2021 film have got people talking.
Image: Tatenda Chidora

“Modernity and the indigenous are often separated, but I wanted to explore something that merges those two worlds,” the designer says. “Some of my friends are law students and stylists — they are very modern young people, but then they also go through this rite of passage and exist in these two spaces,” he says, referencing practising sangomas.

Dedicated to shining a spotlight on the country’s talent, Magugu collaborated with old and new friends of the brand. Most noticeable were eco-textile makers from Ladybrand, who used fabrics that were heat-transfer printed with cannabis. Imphepho (traditional incense) leaf impressions also feature on some of the garments. 

The designer's shoe collection references SA's pastors.
PASTORAL The designer's shoe collection references SA's pastors.
Image: Tatenda Chidora

A woollen suit features a photograph Magugu took after collaborator Noentla Khumalo threw her bones in the studio. The designer insisted on leaving their interpretation to the wearer.

Among Magugu’s favourites is his new foray into shoes. Ironically, the Sunday’s Best Boot was crafted in Italy, making it the perfect reference for the sharp-nosed loafers SA pastors are famous for.

The film’s take on “sisterhood girl gangs” was inspired by Koopman’s interest in Japan’s pink film genre and features elements of the East’s take on revenge flicks.

Watch the full collection below.


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