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Design Thinking: Thebe Magugu Studio

(Image Courtesy of Thebe Magugu Studio. Image shows the Longline Sisterhood Golfer Dress. This dress is described as, " The Sisterhood Golfer Dress is emblazoned with the Sisterhood Emblem on its center front with straps that emerge from the side seam for proportion shifting. The straps may either be left hanging or tie towards the back. White banding on the sleeve and button-stand frame the dress. Composition: 65% Acrylic, 35% Wool. Produced in South Africa." Price=$359.96. You can order this dress at )

In Graduate School, one of the buzzwords professors love to discuss is "Design Thinking." Design Thinking is an iterative process in which we seek to understand the user, challenge assumptions, and redefine problems to identify alternative strategies and solutions that might not be instantly apparent with our initial level of understanding (Dam and Siang). Design Thinking enables a company to understand consumer needs to serve their audience better. For this project, I contacted different companies to learn how the organizations apply Design Thinking into their market offerings. I had the opportunity to talk with Thebe Magugu Studio to learn more about their organization.

(Image courtesy of Thebe Magugu Studio. Image depicts the Corrugated Iron Parka. This parka is described as, " The parka is a technical long-line coat featuring an elasticated waistline with toggles for adjustment, held together at the centre by a single ferrous-free press stud. The print, which mimics a pinstripe, is a photograph of my aunt’s corrugated iron roof, taken where I spent most of my childhood. Composition: (Shell) Hi-Twist Satin Twill [100% PL], (Lining) Honeycomb Mesh [100% PL]. Produced in South Africa." Price=$1159.19. You can order this parka at )

1. What makes Thebe Magugu Studio different from other fashion brands?

Where most brands are run by a machine, Thebe is the machine. He’s built the brand from the ground up with very little resources. While brands are made up of large teams our team just consists of me, Thebe our 4 production staff + the lady that helps our studio stay clean. To bridge the gap between our needs and what is required of us to deliver as a luxury brand we’ve had to collaborate with incredible individuals and small suppliers that are driven by passion and purpose like we are. Everyone is also treated equally, appreciated and our well-being matters. I think thats hard to find in any working environment.

(Image courtesy of Thebe Magugu Studio. Image shows the Black Sunday Best Boot. This boot is described as, " The brands first shoe offering is titled the Sunday Best Boot, and is available in an ankle length and a knee length. The boot takes elements from a loafer, and features a severely pointed toe - inspired by the elongated shoes pastors wear in downtown Johannesburg and the shape of 15th Century Cracow shoes. The shoes feature our brand’s logo - the Sisterhood Emblem - attached to its front, crafted in a domed stainless steel. The heel takes on an angular wedge shape that grows out in a trapeze fashion towards the ground. The shoe’s sole is stamped with the brand’s monogram.

Technical Details: Upper - Half Cow Leather Insole: Colour-Match orange cow leather with Thebe Magugu Black foil Stamp. Thread:Tonal Bonded Nylon. Heel: 105mm Trapeze shape heel." Price= $1585.04. You can order these boots at )

2. How does Thebe Magugu Studio stay ahead of upcoming fashion trends?

To be honest we don't really focus too much on fashion trends because we’re more focused on disrupting the market. It's about unique story telling and communicating what South Africa and what Thebe is about in an authentic way. We also believe focusing on fashion trends is not really beneficial for the brand because what makes us special and the world curious about us is our ability to educate using culturally rich luxury ready-to-wear created uniquely through a South Africa perspective.

3. How does Thebe Magugu Studio incorporate its mission and vision into its product offerings?

We’re lead by Thebe who’s obviously a talented designer but one of the things I appreciate most about him is his honesty. It's in everything he does. He’s committed to sharing who he is and what he’s about at his core through his designs. Thus Thebe’s ability to integrate his honesty in his creative process ensures our mission and vision is always incorporated in our product offerings.

(Image courtesy of Thebe Magugu Studio. Image depicts that Oliver Sisterhood Sheriff Hats. This hat is shown as, "Hand-crafted wool strappy fedora hats feature our stainless steel Sisterhood Emblem. One size fits all. Composition: 100% Wool. Produced in South Africa." Price=$457.58. You can order this hat at

4. What is the future of the company?

I would say at this stage having staying power and building on what Thebe has already achieved. Thebe has created a phenomenal foundation and I can proudly say we’re a Luxury Brand founded and located in South Africa. However, how do we gain the respect and influence that other luxury fashion brands have? All we can do is be patient with our growth and continue producing product that is culturally rich, daring, intellectually engaging and allow us to drive compelling South African Stories.

(Image courtesy of Thebe Magugu Studios)


Me on my first day of graduate school

Rachel Huss

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