WATCH | Thebe Magugu explores African spirituality for AW21 collection

Titled "Alchemy", the designer's latest collection is a visceral story of the changing face of African spirituality

07 March 2021 - 00:00
By Thango Ntwasa
Thebe Magugu Autumn/Winter 2021
Image: Tatenda Chidora Thebe Magugu Autumn/Winter 2021 "Alchemy" collection.

Girls with machetes are the new girls with guns in Thebe Magugu's latest Paris Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2021 fashion film. Shot entirely in Joburg, 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 youths being vocal and open about it, Magugu was inspired to find modernity through the indigenous.

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

With his dedication to shining a spotlight on talents within the country, Magugu collaborated with old and new friends of the brand. Most noticeable were the eco-textile makers from Ladybrand who used fabrics that were heat transfer printed with cannabis. There was an impression of imphepho leaves (traditional incense) on some of the designs as well.

A woollen suited piece was printed with a photograph Magugu took after collaborator Noentla Khumalo threw her bones in studio. The custom is a method of divination, but without deciphering them Magugu insisted on leaving its interpretation to the wearer.

A favourite of Magugu's is his new foray into the world of shoes. The Sunday's Best Boot was ironically crafted in Italy, which made the perfect reference for the sharp-nosed loafers pastors in SA are famed for wearing.

The film's take on "sisterhood girl gangs" was inspired by influences from the Japanese pink film genre, with elements of the East's take on revenge flicks.