Words: Gene Sibeko
The fashion realm witnessed a captivating union at the launch event of the Samsung Galaxy Fliptown. Renowned designer Thebe Magugu stepped into the role of the official collaborator, forging a remarkable path where technology and fashion intertwine. As guests reveled in an evening of high-tech elegance, the avant-garde experience unfolded through the lens of AI photography, adorning attendees in the distinctive flair of Thebe Magugu.
The interplay between fashion and technology reached its zenith when two bespoke ensembles conceived by Magugu made their debut. Each reflects the innovative Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 and Galaxy Z Fold5. The symbiotic relationship between designer and brand came alive as attendees praised the outfits inspired by the fusion of function and aesthetics. Thebe describes the pieces as “A juxtaposition between the old and the new. Similarly, like the phone that has cutting-edge technology but still hints at the groundbreaking design of flip phones in the 2000s.”
The evening was a true synergy of artistry; Thebe Magugu’s collaboration with Samsung marked a momentous leap into a future where creativity knows no bounds. In an interview with Thebe Magugu, we gained deeper insight into this genius collaboration with Samsung.
How does it feel to be a part of the highly anticipated launch event for the Samsung Galaxy Fliptown in the vibrant neighbourhood of Rosebank? Please share your insights on the intriguing fusion of technology and fashion within this unique context.
As a designer, I am ruthlessly in the pursuit of the cutting-edge, the new, and the modern. I think that aligns so well with Samsung’s core mission and vision to be at the forefront. If you think about it, technology is such an integral part of fashion. Look at the innovation of textiles; the new content to create safer textiles comes from technology. Designers are creating fabrics out of waste, and that takes science and technology. Even in image-making, which is so important in my design process, the brand relies on photography and documentation. The Samsung Galaxy supports my work so well; I shoot lookbooks, my process videos, and overall document my design journey.
The Galaxy Fliptown launch promises a captivating blend of technological innovation and an appreciation for capturing cultural moments. Can you delve into the creative approach you took to seamlessly integrate your expertise into this collaboration, aligning it with both the event’s cutting-edge nature and the smartphone’s innovative features?
So, when I was approached by the Samsung team, I was asked to do two looks that are inspired by the Galaxy Z Flip5 and Galaxy Z Fold5. The looks took so many cues from the design of the phone, from the colours that bring through a Y2K nostalgia. I used charcoal grey, a milky teal colour, and purple as the focus in both designs.
The phone is such an interesting intersection of incredible innovation, at the same time it hints at the late ’90s and early 2000s with the flip. So, I did the same; I took opposites and merged them. I do this in my designs anyways; I take my past, my history, my heritage, and even my mom’s style and push all of that into a modern place. Those intersections and the centre of those juxtapositions is where you find true magic.
As a distinguished figure in the fashion world, your designs often echo cultural and societal influences. Please elaborate on your vision for the collaboration with Samsung and how this partnership might contribute to a broader narrative or theme extending beyond fashion.
I think it is really important to always be transparent with whoever follows the Thebe Magugu brand. I do not hide any parts of my process; I enjoy showing people the inspiration and journey behind an outfit. I really hope this partnership with Samsung allows me to delve deeper into that. I really want to show the bones of the brand and the developments I do as a fashion designer.
The launch event aims to offer attendees an immersive and unforgettable experience. Please provide us with insights into your strategies for translating the essence of the Galaxy Fliptown into a compelling visual language during the fashion presentation.
I approached this collaboration with the fashion consumer in mind. Consumers who really enjoy fashion can discern when something is not from a soulful place or an intentional place. I find my voice in fashion because I am not a very talkative person but through fashion, I can voice all my opinions, my thoughts, and my feelings. I do not have to say a single thing because it is all represented in the work that I do.
The intersection of technology and the creative arts has yielded remarkable collaborations. How do you envision the collaborative efforts between Samsung and yourself inspiring fellow artists, designers, and brands to embark on fresh journeys of creative expression? In what ways might this partnership catalyse the exploration of new horizons in creative innovation?
I always associate cameras with this idea of documentation. I even look at it from a local perspective. We have such an incredible pool of creatives and people who are pushing the envelope; however, they seldom document what they do. That runs the risk of being lost within the unknowns of history, and I hope this collaboration shows how important it is to document what you do and cherish every single moment. As brands, we rely on preservation, and I would like for others to follow suit through this collaboration.