Thebe Magugu X Emile Millward Rocking Chair

PHOTOS Thebe Magugu, Tsepo Tsotetsi and Tamrun Beath-Smith WORDS Malibongwe Tyilo

Fashion designer Thebe Magugu’s observation of a typical Johannesburg CBD scene provided inspiration for his A/W 2016 collection. It also led him to work with industrial designer Emile Millward to create a rocking chair.

The street vendors who sell mealies are a familiar sight to any observant pedestrian and driver who have made their way through the Johannesburg CBD. For young designer Thebe Magugu, this quintessential part of the inner-city experience inspired a print for his A/W 2016 collection, called A Social Science. But it didn’t end there.

“With every collection I try to imagine a non-fashion object that correlates with the clothes,” he says. “A particularly inspiring day came when I saw a woman selling mealies while sitting on a chair wearing a wide-brimmed hat. It was in that moment that I knew I wanted to make a chair to complement the collection.” Thebe, working together with industrial designer Emile Millward, created a copper rocking chair featuring the mealie print on satin covering high-compression foam.

“I was excited about this project from the moment Thebe approached me,” says Emile. “It was a learning process for me, as it was my first time building a rocking chair, and not just any rocking chair, but a completely over-the-top one that retains marvellous simplicity.”

We didn’t even know we wanted a rocking chair, but this creation, infused with the spirit of downtown Jozi, has just jumped to the top of our shopping list.