In Henrik Ibsen’s climatic end to his seminal play A Doll House, Torvald Helmer turns to his wife in a spate of toxic anger and says,“Before all else, you are a wife and a mother”. Nora Helmer, now disillusioned from her once unbreakable dream of having a nuclear family, responds:

 I don't believe that any longer, I believe that before all else I am a reasonable human being just as you are — or, at all events, that I must try and become one. I know quite well, Torvald, that most people would think you’re right and that views of that kind are to be found in books; but I can no longer content myself with what most people say or with what is found in books. I must think over things for myself and get to understand them.

Nora, although responding to her husband, unintentionally addressed societal misogyny and the expectations placed on women. We, as South African’s, might have one of the most progressive constitutions in the world and enjoy (textbook) freedom but we still live in a very conservative country,a country that blatantly shows its women almost daily that they sit a rung below their male counterparts. More chillingly, you would have to be existing in complete isolation to not see that there is currently what is obviously a war on women. If they are not being murdered in cold blood, they are being completely marginalized and essentially erased.

Women who assert any sense of self-government are always seen as a threat to be stifled, stemming from the damaging fear of the feminine– that’s why they can be discredited as problematic or discarded in a field.

This collection is commentary on that – references about homemaking & consumerism communicate ideas of expectation and disposability, while the colours remind one of chemicals that reacted badly with one another – magnesium purples, high-in-alkaline pinks with sulphuric brights – which speak of the hostile environment women find themselves in.

However, there is an inherent strength in this season’s woman, with a subversive beauty made from the very difficulty she experiences in today’s socio-political climate. Last season for Geology SS17, she clicked out to escape into the wild. Now she’s back, aware of herself, her environment,and her relation to it. This is a woman making do with what she has been dealtand not letting it diminish the undeniable autonomy she - and every other woman- has.

Gillian Lawrence from contemporary jewelry brand LORNE gave the collection an added dimension with incredible pieces which seem to feel both fragile yet sturdy, masculine yet feminine, quaint yet intimidating –which are juxtapositions I feel give them complexity and character. THEBEMAGUGU x LORNE is the third Special Project by THEBE MAGUGU, available for purchase soon.

Our signature illustration this season (“Girl Seeks Girl”)-as seen on the cover - was in collaboration with graphic designer Phathu Nembilwi. Its subject communicates our main message this season [and hopefullyfor the rest of time]:

Women really need one another right now.

-Thebe Magugu

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