Thebe Magugu takes over Spotify Fashion Forward playlist

Celebrated contemporary South African fashion designer Thebe Magugu makes history by becoming first African designer to curate the Spotify Fashion Forward playlist. 

The Fashion Forward playlist acknowledges the significance of music in fashion. Magugu joins an illustrious list of fashion designers and stylists including Yoon Ahn, Brandon Blackwood, Bobby Wesley, No Sesso, Zerina Akers and Misa Hylton who have all taken over the playlist in the past.

His playlist is a collection of songs that have inspired him, as a designer and as an African, and tells the story of his journey towards becoming one of the most celebrated South Africans in global fashion.

Magugu says his curated playlist includes the artists he listened to “religiously” while developing his Autumn/Winter ‘23 Folklorics collection. He says the first half of the playlist focused on transcendental dance- combining familiar African sounds with a modern attitude- while the second half is focused on the voice and acoustics, while still retaining the folkloric elements of his collection.

Thebe Magugu’s installation at the International Fashion Showcase in Somerset House, London. Credit: Agnese Sanvito

Thebe Magugu is one of the most accomplished fashion designers in Africa with his beautifully tailored pieces making waves globally. Artists like Burna Boy, Rihanna and Miley Cyrus have all rocked Magugu looks- further showcasing the link between fashion and music in conquering global stages.

“As the name suggests, the collection looks at the past through a modern sense – much like the artists selected, who beautifully combine the past, the present and slight suggestions for the future through their intelligent, genre-bending and afro-centric stories,” he says.

The 55 song playlist is an exploration of South African music featuring legends like Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse, Brenda Fassie and Lebo Mathosa, to South Africa’s current musical obsession- Amapiano. Magugu’s playlist also offers an array of genres- with the house scene represented by the likes of Black Coffee, DJ Sbu and DJ Cleo, Skwatta Kamp flying the Kwaito flag and Kwesta and Cassper Nyovest bringing the Hip Hop flavour.

“As Africans, storytelling has always been an immovable facet to our culture, and – especially as artists – have always found the most progressive ways to express our vivid internal landscapes – whether individuals or communal,” Magugu adds.

The campaign to promote the playlist plays on the 2D aspects of fabric, and the 3D aspects of sound to symbolise the coming to life of Magugu’s collection through music. To celebrate the collaboration and the South African creativity that inspired it, Spotify will also feature Magugu’s playlist on a billboard in New York City’s Times Square.

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