Mauvelli | Here's Our Review Of Thebe Magugu's SS21 Collection

Thebe Magugu Drew Inspiration From Female Ex-Spies And Double Agents For His New Collection. Here's How It Turned Out

October 07, 2020 | by bolu | 0 Comments

Depending on the creativity of a fashion entrepreneur, they drop collections which are inspired by a range of things including their surroundings, background, culture and many more. A fashion collection usually showcases the thought process of a designer through different means like cuts, silhouettes and so on.

Thebe Magugu, a popular South African fashion designer with his eponymous fashion label, Thebe Magugu, recently released his SS21 collection. Here is our independent review of the collection, as well as what people had to share.

About Thebe Magugu

Thebe Magugu is a fashion brand that focuses on creating quality ready-to-wear outfits and accessories for both men and women. By celebrating African roots with a modern approach, the fashion brand delivers unique products to embrace and enhance the everyday experience of people.

The fashion brand is owned and creatively directed by Thebe Magugu, the first African designer to win the LVMH Prize for Young Designers. This award alongside some other awards has positioned his brand for global recognition and accolades.

He recently released his SS21 collection, Counter Intelligence, and it has quite the unique twist.

Design Inspiration

According to the designer, Thebe Magugu, this collection was inspired based off a series of interviews he conducted with confessed, tried and detained female ex-spies, who worked either for the Apartheid government or defected to the other side essentially becoming double agents in the process.

The starting point of this collection, just as he revealed, was a book written by Mr Ancer, titled Betrayal: The Secret Lives of Apartheid Spies.

“It always fascinated me how one can become a spy and commit high treason.” - Thebe Magugu 

Despite drawing inspiration from the apartheid times, this collection is merely an adaptation rather than an imitation, just like Kayode Oladipo, a software developer shared with us,

“This collection definitely didn’t cover all the angles, but the fact that the designer spoke to actual spies from the apartheid era gave it a rather interesting human angle.” - Kayode Oladipo 


In delivering this collection, Thebe Magugu infused many modern trends with a unique twist. The collection features unique styles such as a light weight chambray suit, yellow wool mini dress, Bohemian style pleated dress with balloon sleeves and many more.


My SS21 collection, titled COUNTER INTELLIGENCE, is based off a series of interviews I conducted with confessed, tried and detained female ex-spies, who worked either for the Apartheid government or defected to the other side, essentially becoming double-agents in the process. Its always fascinated me, how one can become a spy and commit high-treason. Speaking to some of these women, as well as author Jonathan Ancer, gave me some valuable insight into the psychology. Mr. Ancer’s book titled “BETRAYAL: The Secret Lives of Apartheid Spies” was the starting point of the collection and I highly suggest you all read it. Its been interesting translating some of these stories into the collection. One of the spies I spoke to, Olivia Anne-Marie Forsyth, provided me with her scanned fingerprints, which now enjoy a polka-dot effect on LOOK 4 - there are many details like this that pepper the collection that I invite you to please look through. Please watch the collection’s film, by the same name, shot by close collaborators photographer @kristinleemoolman and stylist @ibkamara . I would like to thank everyone involved in this project. Your valued input and contribution is deeply appreciated. Executive Producer @jodie_ennik Models: @bethany.dewaal @francageneva @mariacatherinecorrea @thereal.annah @juliannaveenis @iam_sio @litty_misfit Stylist Assistant: @amyzamaa Berets in collaboration with @therealcrystalbirch and @kirsten___goss Leatherwork in collaboration with @friuli_concepts Photographer Assistant: @tatendachidora 2nd Assistant: Lerato Ntiso Art Director / Set Designer: @chloe_andrea_the_creator Hair Artist: @missmoloto Hair Artist: @saadique Make Up Artist: @annicemakeup Make Up Artist: @alsbellsmua Lampost Luminaires: Lebogang Tlhako Lampost Luminaires: Thalente Khomo Lampost Luminaires: Lili Bo Ming Graphic Design + Titles: Special Thanks to : @keyesartmile + @sunshinecoza + Jonathan Ancer + Mare Hof @lampostsa @lampost.production

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The designer was also able to infuse some details from the spies he had discussions with to add a unique twist.

“One of the spies I spoke to, Olivia Anne-Marie Forsyth, provided me with her scanned fingerprints which now enjoy a polka-dot effect on one of the looks.” - Thebe Magugu

Like Shammah Idibe, an engineering student and history lover, shared with us,

“A lot of work and thought was definitely put into this collection. The backstory and infusion of the spies fashion styles was creative and highly expressive.”

Target Audience

This collection, just like the brand's other collections, was designed for modern men and women. The styles of some of the outfits make them easy to be worn to a range of social gatherings, while some can be reserved for formal occasions.

"Personally, I like the design inspiration of this collection and the execution. Some of the styles here can be rocked for chilled events, such as the cold shoulder dresses and the outfit with the red mini skirt. All in all, it's a good collection." - Nifemi Fadugbagbe, a fashionista.

The Counter Intelligence collection is one that was birthed by an inspiration so unique that it should be interpreted accordingly. Through proper research and discussions, Thebe Magugu definitely pulled off this collection while still showcasing African culture and heritage.


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