@thebemagugu, Fashion Designer
The name Thebe Magagu carries immense power with it, a luxury South African fashion brand, the first African to win the LVMH Prize for Young Designers in 2019, a publisher of the undeniably queer publication Faculty Press and a young black queer man with education at the heart of his design work.
With his recently launched e-commerce site, Magagu continues to take us through his own personal history of growing up in the Northern Cape.
“I am quite a sentimentalist. I always want people to know more about me, my past, and my environment because I think it has a big impact in contextualizing the clothes that I do,” Magagu has said. “I wanted to make an open invitation to my universe.”
His work with Faculty Press is an extension of this, placing African talents in the center, telling the stories of youth culture, exploring the sexualities of queer people, allowing for conversations that are uncompromising and unapologetic in their Africanness and queerness. This work carries power in the way it dissects and presents these talents that create in modern ways while still paying homage to the past that is contained via painful histories and ancestral guidance.
“I think in art, certain movements stem from times of suffering, because art allows people to deal with traumas in a proactive and beautiful way. I tend to look at South Africa through this lens and ask how I can turn all of this pain on its head.”
Words: Tshegofatso Senne