South African designer Thebe Magugu's unwavering commitment to his heritage is a thread that has followed him throughout his career. Recently, the designer’s unique storytelling and ability to connect people through his pieces, which showcase the contemporary spirit of South Africa—his birthplace, hometown, and current brand headquarter—struck a chord with Dior's Creative Director, Maria Grazia Chiuri. Last fall, Chiuri reached out to Magugu to collaborate on a six-piece capsule collection that merges classic Dior silhouettes and their signature oblique fabric with Magugu's point of view and South African values. Values which also happen to align with fellow South African and Dior ambassador Charlize Theron, whose charity, the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project (CTAOP) received a donation in honor of the collaboration.
Theron says the collection is an authentic representation of Dior, Magugu, and the work she does with CTAOP—an organization founded in 2007 to support young people and help stop the spread of HIV by funding locally-led community-based organizations that focus on the health, education, and safety of South Africa's youth. "I really believe collaboration is the only way we have meaningful success," says Theron. "Complex challenges will never be changed by one entity alone. To collaborate is not just the right thing to do; it's the smart thing to do. At CTAOP, our work relies on being in relationship with others—with organizations rooted in community, with young people living in Southern Africa, with other funders and donors, and with those whose vision and values align with ours.”
Launched this past October, the collection comprises a tee and skirt, hat, Dior book tote, boots, and silk scarf. “When fashion inspires, actively addresses, and gives back, it's at its most powerful,” says Magugu. “This is the level of fashion that I want to participate in.”
His Sisterhood logo, an emblem of two women holding hands, is woven prominently throughout his designs and the collection. The mark is a testament to his lifeblood—the matriarchal figures who have supported the designer throughout his studies and burgeoning label that he started in 2006. "The visibility of our Sisterhood logo is vital because it communicates an idea of unity, praise of feminine power, and maternal figures caring for one another," the designer says.
Chiuri and Magugu—both supporters of Theron's work to create equitable systems across South Africa—saw this collaboration as a meaningful way to deepen support for CTAOP financially and artistically. But the capsule is not just a creative pursuit between artists, as much as an opportunity for people to come together to swap heartfelt compassion, enterprising ideas, and diverse perspectives. "Fashion, like all art, has the potential to move hearts and minds," says Theron. We need people to feel that passion for change. That's what philanthropy needs to drive change forward."
In our "Making Change" series, we celebrate the people and brands using their influence to do good.
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Sara Holzman is the Style Director at Marie Claire, covering runway trends and tracking down the latest finds to buy and wear. When she’s not writing about fashion, she pens about the best places to jet-off to. Over her six years with Marie Claire, Sara has reported on the ever-evolving world of fashion— covering both established and emerging designers within the industry. Sara has held fashion positions at Lucky and SELF Magazine and was a regular contributor to Equinox’s Furthermore website, where she wrote across their style, wellness, and travel verticals. She holds a degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri, Columbia, and currently resides in Manhattan. Follow her along at @sarajonewyork.
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