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Fashion designer ‘returns to his roots’

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Fashion has always been his passion and recalls receiving a sketch pad as a gift from his mother at an early age.

BACK IN TOWN: Internationally-celebrated, Kimberley-born fashion designer Thebe Magugu paid a visit to his hometown yesterday. Picture: Danie van der Lith

IT WAS a “return to the roots” for internationally-celebrated, Kimberley-born fashion designer Thebe Magugu, who yesterday paid a visit to his hometown shortly after winning the coveted LVMH (Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton) Prize for Young Fashion Designers in Paris last week.

Magugu, 26, who is currently based in Johannesburg, will receive a 300 000 euro grant and enjoy a one-year mentoring programme provided by a dedicated LVMH team covering many fields of expertise (intellectual property, sourcing, production and distribution, image and communication, marketing and sustainable development), after beating more than 1 700 contestants from across the world in winning the prize.

Magugu was selected as the winner from eight finalists, including Nigerian Kenneth Ize, British designer Bethany Williams and Hed Mayner from Israel.

Magugu was born and raised in Kimberley and matriculated at St Patrick’s College CBC before studying Fashion and Apparel Design at Lisof Fashion School in Johannesburg.

Having just turned 26, Magugu was the youngest of this year’s finalists as well as the first from Africa to land in the finals and made history as the first African designer to win the prestigious LVMH Prize.

Magugu yesterday told the DFA that fashion has always been his passion and recalls receiving a sketch pad as a gift from his mother at an early age.

Talking about the inspiration for the collection that won him the coveted prize, Magugu explained that his previous collections had all been named after university subjects.

“This collection is entitled prosopography – the study of groups of people whose biography is not that well documented. The collection talks about the woman of the Black Sash and the contributions they made to the movement,” Magugu said.

Magugu said that he dedicated the prize entirely to his mother, Tiego Magugu, who “sacrificed so much in order for me to pursue a career in fashion”.

Magugu was yesterday honoured by the Northern Cape MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Maruping Lekwene, during his budget speech in the Northern Cape Legislature, where the fashion sensation was one of the invited guests.

“It is with utmost pride that I am acknowledging the presence of a person who has catapulted himself into being a global asset in fashion design,” Lekwene said. “History was made last week in Paris when our very own from the Northern Cape, raised in the dusty streets of Galeshewe, Thebe Magugu, was cast into the spotlight in South Africa and the continent.

“Having competed against 1 700 other young designers from over 110 countries, Magugu is the first-ever African to win the prestigious house of Louis Vuitton, Moët & Chandon and Hennessy (LVMH Prize) from the multinational conglomerate.”

Magugu’s collection is available online at 24s.com and locally at Luminescence in Johannesburg and Merchant on Long in Cape Town. Magugu has also been part of Woolworths SA Style By SA capsule collections since 2016.