LVMH Prize Finalists Include Two African Designers

4th April 2019 BY Ivis Ngwenya

“The diversity and richness of the collections presented for the sixth edition of the LVMH Prize this year is a testament to these talented designers, making the decision of our 63 experts incredibly difficult,” noted Delphine Arnault on the LVMH Prize.

Last week on Wednesday the 27th of March history was made yet again, LVMH announced the names of the designers selected for the shortlist for the LVMH Prize 2019 for fashion designers. This was, or should I say, is the most diverse group since the prize was founded 6 years ago.

The young Fashion Designers’ competition is open to designers from every country who have produced at least two collections and who are under 40 – the LVMH prize was founded to help young designers develop their creative work by giving them a grant of €300,000 (approx. R4.9) and a personalized technical and financial support from the Group for a 12-month period following the LVMH Prize award. This support covers all the areas of expertise that are critical to a young fashion brand such as, intellectual property, sourcing, production and distribution, image as well as advertising, marketing.

This fits in so nicely with my previous blog post where I spoke about the fact that the continent’s fashion industry is struggling to sustain itself and that designers have difficulties in creating a lucrative retail business beyond African Fashion Weeks. A programme like this is perfect! It is a way to help change the lives of designers globally and help them establish not only a brand but a strong one of that. That is why I am so proud to say that South Africa’s Thebe Magugu and Nigerian designer Kenneth Ize are among the eight finalists competing for the grand prize.

They are selected from among 20 semi-finalists by no fewer than 63 international experts from the world of fashion, including Emmanuelle Alt, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Paris, supermodel Naomi Campbell, influencer and businesswoman Chiara Ferragni, entrepreneur and model Karlie Kloss, makeup artist Pat McGrath, and Director Loïc Prigent, just to name a few, basically the best of the best in the industry.

Do you know how amazing this is? Is it even possible to be this proud of two people you don’t know? I was not kidding when I said that 2019 was OUR YEAR. We are claiming it! Every month I am seeing us excel and progress in this field that we call fashion.

LVMH 2019

The historic lack of African representation within the competition and inside other Western design institutions is solely due to the fact that people cannot see past the Ankara prints that have come to define the African fashion industry – people are ignorant enough to think that that is all we have to offer as a continent, little do they know of the talent that surrounds us that is just waiting to be discovered.

Our people are talented and they deserve global recognition which is why I will not rest until the western world appreciates African fashion for the beauty that it is! This is why the oversight of the diversity of African fashion has made Thebe and Kenneth’s nominations even more special.

This shows that the fashion industry is now paying attention, this is our opportunity to shift the narrative of African design. IT IS OUR TIME TO SHINE!