South Africa’s Lukhanyo Mdingi has been announced as a finalist for the 2021 LVMH Prize. Apart from Lukhanyo, Bianca Saunders, Charles de Vilmorin, Christopher John Rogers, Conner Ives, KidSuper’s Colm Dillane, Kika Vargas, Nensi Dojaka, and Rui’s Rui Zhou all made the cut. Launched in 2013 by the multinational conglomerate, the prize rewards fashion designers for their talent and outstanding creativity.
The 2021 edition for the prize departed from the norm as a result of COVID-19 restrictions. The call for applications went out on the 11th of January and closed on the 28th of February. Because of the health crisis, the semifinal took the form of a digital forum this year; an exception to the rule. After the 20 semifinalists were chosen, over 32,000 people participated in the public vote which saw the 66 international experts whittle down the 20 semifinalists to nine finalists this year as opposed to the usual eight.
The winner of the LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers enjoys a tailored mentorship and receives a 300,000-euro endowment. The LVMH teams mentor the winners in many fields, such as sustainable development, communication, copyright and corporate legal aspects, as well as marketing and the financial management of a brand. The winner of the Karl Lagerfeld / Special Jury Prize receives a 150,000-euro allocation and also enjoys a one-year mentorship. Furthermore, on the occasion of each edition, the Prize distinguishes three young fashion school graduates. This year, the applications of students who have graduated in 2020 and 2021 will be reviewed. The three shortlisted graduates will be invited to join the design studios of Houses of the LVMH Group for one year.
South African designers Thebe Magugu was the winner of the 2019 prize, and Sindiso Khumalo one of the winners of the 2020 prize. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the final of the 2020 prize was cancelled and the 300,000-euro award was distributed equally among the finalists. In a stellar run for South African design talent, one of our own has made it to the finals for the third year in a row.
Pandemic-permitting, the 2021 finalists will meet in Paris in September and a winner will be chosen. You can go to lvhmprize.com to discover more about the finalists.