A new rising figure in fashion, South African designer Thebe Magugu, who won the LVMH prize at the age of 26 in September 2019, is a committed designer who is very concerned and involved in the cause of women on a daily basis, and sympathetic to the situation of children living in the townships of South Africa.

After sponsoring the Uniforms & Differences operation of Designing Hope in 2019, here is a new story that will soon associate the designer with the association and its actions in southern Africa: the “Porte-Bonheurs, starring Thebe Magugu” exhibition and set-up at the Bon Marché Rive Gauche.

Les Porte-Bonheurs
Invité Thebe Magugu

le Bon Marché Rive Gauche

On the initiative of Frédéric Bodenes, Image and Art Director, Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche has called on Thebe Magugu for its next exhibition “Porte-Bonheurs“, to implement a unique project to support Designing Hope, particularly its work in southern Africa.
“We are deeply committed to investing in philanthropic works, and it is in our DNA to do so through the prism of fashion,” says Patrice Wagner, Chairman and CEO of Bon Marché group.

This DNA is shared by Designing Hope who, with its “La Mode Dessine l’Espoir” (Fashion Designing Hope) adventure, has marked its 18 years of existence with collaborations with 80 designers, including the biggest names in fashion.

A spectacular set-up

In September, Le Bon Marché will unveil “Porte-Bonheurs” (“Lucky Charms”): a spectacular installation of 20,000 multicoloured fabric flowers designed by Thebe Magugu, made up as brooches stitched on countless lianas, suspended in the hopper and in the various areas of the shop. A vibrant and poetic staging for an extremely concrete charity project.

Above, the words written in flowers in the windows of the Bon Marché Rive Gauche.

More than an artistic gesture, Thebe Magugu’s “Porte-Bonheurs” set-up is the theatre of a fantastic philanthropic project. In December 2019, the Bon Marché teams and Thebe Magugu spent two days with Designing Hope’s team in Johannesburg to design the original flower model. It was then sewn and embroidered by 120 women living in precarious situations, in four workshops supported by the association, two in Eswatini, in Pigg’s Peak and Bulembu; and two in South Africa, in Roosboom and Johannesburg.

The flowers are available in the seven colours of the rainbow and in two sizes. They all carry Thebe Magugu’s signature label and 20% of them include a petal cut from one of the designer’s printed fabrics. These singular flowers have been designed as “Porte-Bonheurs”, which from Eswatini and South Africa to Paris, with delicacy, carry a message of generosity.

They will be on sale in shops and on the Bon Marché website for the benefit of the Designing Hope association for the duration of the event, and will be sent by post to their buyers once the installation is complete. They can be purchased online on this link.

Profits from the sales of a tote bag, which is to be found only in shops, featuring the Thebe Magugu flower motif specially produced for the occasion, will also be donated to Designing Hope.

A significant local impact.

An income-generating activity for women …

The first phase of the project, consisting in the making of the 20,000 flowers, was a great opportunity for the 120 women involved. A considerable amount of work, carried out just before the Covid crisis, and which enabled so many families to pass the test of confinement in better conditions.

  • View below the making of of the project
… Followed by a surge of generosity to fund a new project

All of these benefits will contribute to the implementation of the new Designing Hope project entitled the “Garden of skills” located in the village of Malanti in Eswatini.

The idea? To bring together on the same site a forest garden (associating trees that fertilize the soil with market gardening) and a training and activity centre in the field of agroecology, crafts and micro-project management, open, in particular, to underprivileged women and youth. The “Garden of Skills” will provide them with equipped workshops for sewing, handicrafts, the processing and conservation of garden products and the acquisition of knowledge in nutrition.

The installation of cabins on the site will make it possible to welcome solidarity tourism and accommodate volunteers who can share their know-how during their stay. In the long term, they will constitute an additional resource for the self-financing of the “Garden of skills”.

Partnerships will also be forged with local schools, partners of the association, to offer workshops on agro-ecology, environmental awareness and nutrition.