Thebe Magugu on raising awareness of corruption in South Africa and highlighting the whistleblowers who fight it
As the guest designer at the 100th edition of Pitti Uomo. Thebe Magugu uses the ancient fortress as an opportunity to raise awareness of one of the most serious issues affecting our country. Magugu presents his first full menswear collection which looks at corruption and the whistleblowers who challenge it. He shares with Vogue how his collection was inspired by Mandy Wiener’s book, Whistleblowers. A manuscript that recounts the stories of individuals who exposed various multi-million Rand lootings.
“I have chosen to shine a light on the plight of whistleblowers in South Africa in hope to advocate a change in legislation, organisational support and a change in social attitude” Shares the designer. Unlike a usual show where models walk back and forth down a runway. The show recreates a scene where models are seated back-to-back in a police station’s waiting room. Models being the whistleblowers of the corruption scandals in Wiener’s book stand up randomly to walk around the other seated models.
Today, Florence hosted its first post-pandemic fashion show, by Thebe Magugu. It was also Magugu’s full menswear debut. See every look from the spring 2022 collection: https://t.co/MU4n9ZhXDe pic.twitter.com/WRggWQDIpo
— Vogue Runway (@VogueRunway) July 2, 2021
A Western Influence
Cowboy hats and boots feature across the board of this collection along with suits, Stetsons and coats. Magugu relates it back to South Africa as he released the collection two days after former president Jacob Zuma was ordered to turn himself in for his alleged involvement in looting money from the government while in power. For the collection, the designer skillfully incorporates the illustrations of political cartoonist Jonathan Zapiro to contribute as a headlining print.
“In many ways, the societal ills we wrestle with stem from insidious actions of its leaders. In South Africa, we have regularised the daily tales of missing millions and economy-controlling families” – Thebe Magugu.
Magugu perfectly visualizes the greedy actions of those in power with his collection titled “DOUBLETHINK”. A direct reference to George Orwell’s 1984 novel, where the term is used to define the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradicting beliefs.
View Thebe Magugu’s full collection here: https://www.vogue.com/fashion-shows/spring-2022-menswear/thebe-magugu/slideshow/collection#6