Styled By SA
The opening of the 2017 South African Fashion Week unveiled new fashion talents that launched the StyleBYSA campaign.
Last month’s SA Fashion week saw influencers, celebrities and fashion editors give the nod to street style and elegant designs. At the opening of the event, Woolworths launched their 2017 ‘StyleBySA’ seasonal campaign (in stores from 12 April 2017), featuring a capsule collection by eight local designers who are emerging as game-changers. EOA caught up with Thebe Magugu and Maria McCloy.
Tell us about your pieces that will feature in the Woolworths collection?
I’m doing four pieces, including a shirt-dress, a coat, a skirt and a knit top. The collection is a play on masculine versus feminine attire, but the pieces are timeless and designed to be very interchangeable within a woman’s wardrobe, so they aren’t not necessarily going to take over the wardrobe but rather just seamlessly blend in.
What inspires your design?
I’m a very observational designer. I live in Joburg and my last collection was called ‘A Social Science’, which was basically inspired by the women in town. I’m inspired by the things I see around me.
Who do you design your clothes for?
I design my clothes for powerful women – women who have a great deal of self-autonomy and who hold all the cards, whether it’s in a work environment or on the home front. It think that’s because of the women I grew up with – my mother, aunt and my grandmother, who are very strong and independent women, so naturally that became a part of my brand DNA.
Which South African designers do you admire?
All of the other Style By SA designers. I’ve always looked up to every one of them, but I have a special relationship with Rich Mnisi because we collaborated last season on a collection that showed at Menswear Week. We also went to the same school, so we are pretty close.
Do you think South Africans are starting to value more local designs?
I think there has been a shift, now more than ever, especially with labels like Woolworths moving towards the ‘local is lekker’ kind of model. I think people are going to become more exposed to the work of local designers and I think they will start receiving some well-deserved attention.
Tell us a bit about your collaboration with Woolies?
I’m a shoe and accessory designer but for this collaboration with Woolworths I am stocking shoes and sneakers, which is so exciting for me.
How do you incorporate your signature aesthetic into your work?
My signature aesthetic is African prints and African inspiration, so that’s what makes the shoes special and why Woolworths decided to bring me on board. I’ve been doing shoes since 2012, so it’s a major step up for me to have been selling at Neighbourgoods every Saturday and Market on Main every Sunday, to now collaborating with Woolworths stores and other amazing designers I really look up to.
Who do you design your accessories for?
I don’t have a particular target person. I think they can appeal to everyone and that’s the beauty of it. If people see African-inspired items and want to wear them, then I’m happy.
How does Joburg inspire your design and your aesthetic?
I wouldn’t be who I am without Joburg. I love the hustle and the bustle; I love the history, the good and the bad history that intersects. You can see the history and style from Sophiatown to urban culture and traditional style, to all the people from the continent who live here. I spend all of my time in the inner-city, whether collaborating with necklace makers or traditional culture makers, or at the shoe factory, or taking the Gautrain or getting in a taxi, or hanging out at bars in Braamfontein. All of that inspires my brand.