Thebe Magugu is the winner of this year’s LVMH Prize, marking the first time a designer from Africa has picked up the award. The 26-year-old designer, originally from Kimberley, South Africa, is known for his contemporary style and use of local suppliers. He launched his womenswear label in 2016 after studying fashion design, photography and media at the LISOF School of Fashion in Johannesburg. He has operated out of his home and had never been to Paris before this year. Magugu will receive a €300,000 grant and a year-long mentorship from executives at the French luxury conglomerate. He said he plans to put the money toward a studio space and to employ more artisans in South Africa. “Winning the prize means the world to me. €300,000 [goes] a very long way,” said Magugu. “The unemployment rate is 30 per cent of the youth in South Africa. That is massive. I want to do my part.” Earlier this year, Magugu won the overall award for curation and fashion content at the International Fashion Showcase, supported by the British Fashion Council and others before receiving the LVMH Prize from Louis Vuitton‘s brand ambassador Alicia Vikander on Wednesday at the Louis Vuitton Foundation. The winner was selected from a shortlist of eight brands, which included a second African brand, Kenneth Ize from Nigerian designer Kenneth Izedonmwen. The six other finalists were Kunihiko Morinaga (Anrealage), Bethany Williams, Emily Adams Bode (Bode), Hed Mayner, Spencer Phipps (Phipps) and Stefan Cooke and Jake Burt (Stefan Cooke). The decision was made by a jury of industry figures, comprising designers Kris Van AsscheMaria Grazia ChiuriJonathan AndersonNicolas GhesquièreMarc Jacobs and Clare Waight Keller alongside Delphine Arnault, the force behind the initiative, Jean-Paul Claverie and Sidney Toledano of LVMH.

 

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