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This 26-Year-Old Designer Just Won Fashion’s Biggest Prize

Photo: LVMH Prize

For young fashion designers trying to make their way in the industry, money and insider connections are invaluable. Since its founding in 2014, the LVMH Prize has sought to provide emerging talent from around the world with both. Past recipients include Grace Wales BonnerMarine Serre, and Japanese streetwear designer Masayuki Ino for his label Doublet in 2018. On Wednesday morning, the 26-year-old designer Thebe Magugu was awarded this year’s prize, which includes a €300,000 grant and a year-long mentorship.

Originally from South Africa, Magugu is the first African designer to be awarded the LVMH Prize. He studied fashion design in Johannesburg before founding his namesake womenswear label in 2017. “Creating clothes with cultural significance, exploring social issues, sharing stories from my country, empowering those I can, and making beautiful yet functional clothes women want to wear has been a checklist I continually hold the brand to,” he wrote after becoming one of eight finalists for the Prize in March.

Others up for this year’s Prize were: Kunihiko Morinaga of Anrealage, Bethany Williams, Emily Adams Bode of Bode, Hed Mayner, Kenneth Izedonmwen of Kenneth Ize, Spencer Phipps of Phipps, and Stefan Cooke and Jake Burt of Stefan Cooke. Hed Mayner was awarded the Karl Lagerfeld Prize, formerly known as the Special Jury Prize, which Simon Porte Jacquemus won in 2015.

Magugu was selected by a jury of industry leaders including Marc Jacobs, Maria Grazia Chiuri of Dior, Nicolas Ghesquière of Louis Vuitton, Clare Waight Keller of Givenchy, and LVMH executives. Look out to see what he does next.

This 26-Year-Old Designer Just Won Fashion’s Biggest Prize