Thebe Magugu on the Political Power of Fashion

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Thebe Magugu is a South African fashion designer, who created his first collection in 2016, and has received stellar reviews for his unique and expressive designs. With several of his pieces having been acquired by the Met, the museum sat down with him to discuss his inspirations and the power that fashion can wield in the political realm.

The collection’s statement piece was the “Girl Seeks Girl” dress. Phathu Nembilwi, the illustrator of the dress, is based here in South Africa. She creates art that celebrates women, the people who raised her, and her friends and community.

Her recent work reflected what was happening culturally, so from our respective spaces within the arts we started a conversation about the state of how women are treated in South Africa. We had this idea that women need one another right now.

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