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Man or muse? See who makes our top designers tick



Man or muse? See who makes our top designers tick

The people who inspire some of our favourite clothes

Nothemba Mkhondo

For Azzedine Alaïa it was Grace Jones, for Hubert de Givenchy it was Audrey Hepburn and for Gert Johan Coetzee it’s Thando Hopa – all designers have their muse, their source of inspiration.
This week, at the SA Fashion Week AW18 collections, Woolworths launched its next iteration of StyleBySA designers Thebe Magugu, Rich Mnisi, Wanda Lephoto and Anees Peterson. They told us about the muses who inspired their latest collections that showed on Tuesday night on the Sandton City rooftop.
THEBE MAGUGUThe brand: Thebe Magugu.
The muse: A friend he made while studying fashion design and photography at the London International School of Fashion.
The connection: “It is important to my aesthetic that I always experiment with opposites and she does it so effortlessly in her own style. What’s incredible about my muse is that she oscillates between the two (masculine and feminine), easily looking either vaguely handsome or super pretty on any given day. She is someone to unpack. I find her very fascinating”, says Magugu.The collection: His latest offering, entitled Gender Studies, is an exploration of the balance between masculine and feminine using unexpected fabrication, colour and silhouettes.RICH MNISIThe brand: Rich Mnisi.
The muse: His mother. 
The connection: “My mother has always been an inspiration for all of my work, so it was only fitting to have her as my muse. I wouldn’t be half the man I am today without her. She has taught me to be patient, kind, giving, ambitious and humble”, says Mnisi.
The collection: Taking inspiration from the sense of style of the women in his childhood, specifically his mother’s, Mnisi’s latest collection makes subtle nods to his mother with proportion, textile and flourishes of other design details.WANDA LEPHOTO
The brand: The Wanda Lephoto label is the creative brainchild of Wanda Lephoto and Kabelo Kungwane – the duo behind creative collective The Sartists.
The muse: Don. The pair met him through mutual friends and social media.The connection: “His drive to succeed and his courage is something that fuels my dreams. He challenges me to think bigger than my current hurdles and I’m inspired by past work he has been a part of. It is exciting for me to look at. We share a consciousness of our time and place and what we’d like to see change, as well as what we ourselves would love to change”, says Lephoto.
The collection: Inspired by Don’s youthful spirit, the new collection is a recollection of childhood memories.ANEES PETERSONThe brand: Young and Lazy
The muse: Kalo. Anees met him at a sale for one of his first studios about six years ago and instantly hit it off.
The connection: “Kalo has been influencing the brand for so long. Kalo taught me to ‘just be yourself’ and not try to emulate anyone else. I’ve seen the way he represents himself and how unafraid he is to put himself out there. The fact that we are homies first yet still get to work together in different creative capacities is very rare. It’s genuine,” says Peterson.SA Fashion Week runs until April 14.

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