Sijabulile Ndlovu

Mzansi’s fashion star boy, Thebe Magugu, does not need an introduction. From conquering some of the world’s extravagant fashion shows to winning the prestigious LVMH Young Fashion Designer Prize, the fashionista is one of the greatest to ever do it.

Adding another trophy to his cabin, Thebe was recently chosen to be the first African fashion designer to take over music streaming giant Spotify’s Fashion Forward playlist. The runway-inspired playlist acknowledges the significance of music in fashion. Moreover, the playlist explores music and fashion, bringing together the foremost tastemaker of those closely related worlds.

Thebe’s latest milestone puts him on the list with globally acclaimed stylists, such as Yoon Ahn, Brandon Blackwood, Bobby Wesley, No Sesso, and Misa Hylton; who have each taken over the playlist previously. Sharing his sentiments about the genre-bending playlist, Thebe emphasised the importance of telling authentic stories about the African continent.

“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 gender-bending and Afrocentric stories,” expressed Thebe.

Baby-blue tie-and-die matching set from Thebe Magugu’s Autumn/ Winter ’23 Folklorics Collection


“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.” – Thebe Magugu


The compilation of songs, which he confesses to have listened to religiously while crafting his Autumn/ Winter 2023 Folklorics Collection, consists of songs that have inspired him as an African creative. Sentimental, the playlist also narrates his journey to becoming one of the most celebrated South African fashion designers globally.

Tangerine, blue, and white A-line dress from Thebe Magugu’s Autumn/ Winter ’23 Folklorics Collection


Transcendental dance music dominates the first half of the playlist, while the second half focuses more on voice and acoustics. According to a press statement released by Thebe Magugu, the 55-song playlist explores South African music with legends such as Sipho as “Hotstix” Mabuse, Brenda Fassie, and Lebo Mathosa, to Mzansi’s latest obsession – Amapiano. The playlist also includes music from some of Africa’s most iconic artists such as Skwatta Camp, Kwesta, and Cassper Nyovest.

The campaign to promote the playlist borders around the 2D aspects of fabric and the 3D aspect of sound to symbolise his collection coming to life through music. Furthermore, the music streaming platform featured Thebe’s playlist on a billboard in New York City’s Time Square to celebrate the sensational collaboration.


Billboard of Spotify x Thebe Magugu’s “Fashion Forward” playlist in New York City’s Time Square

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