emerging designers

This Albanian Designer Just Won Fashion’s Biggest Prize

Nensi Dojaka, right. Photo: Saskia Lawaks/Courtesy of LVMH

On Tuesday morning, Albanian womenswear designer Nensi Dojaka rose above some 1,900 applicants from 110 countries to win the 2021 edition of the LVMH Prize for Young Designers, which includes a €300,000 grant and a yearlong mentorship.

Since its founding in 2014, the LVMH Prize has promised to provide emerging talent from around the world with funding and insider connections. For young fashion designers trying to make their way in the industry, both are invaluable. Past winners include Thebe Magugu, Marine Serre, and Grace Wales Bonner. Last year, however, was an exception since the finals were canceled because of the pandemic, and all eight finalists — including Peter Do, Chopova Lowena, and Tomo Koizumi — split the grand prize money.

Originally from Albania and based in London, Dojaka recently graduated from Central Saint Martins and started her eponymous label in 2017. She made a name in the London fashion scene last year through Fashion East — an organization dedicated to nurturing new fashion talent by giving designers the opportunity to stage a runway show at London Fashion Week.
Since then, Dojaka has become known for her ’90s-inspired spaghetti-strap dresses and carefully constructed sheer pieces of fabric.

Others up for this year’s prize were: Bianca Saunders, Charles de Vilmorin, Christopher John Rogers, Conner Ives, KidSuper by Colm Dillane, Kika Vargas, Lukhanyo Mdingi, and Rui by Rui Zhou. Dillane, Zhou, and Mdingi were awarded the Karl Lagerfeld Prize, each winning a €150,000 grant and a one-year mentorship.

Dojaka was selected by a jury of industry leaders including Marc Jacobs, Maria Grazia Chiuri of Dior, Kim Jones of Fendi, Virgil Abloh of Louis Vuitton, Stella McCartney, and Jonathan Anderson of Loewe.

This Albanian Designer Just Won Fashion’s Biggest Prize