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Why the LVMH Prize is so important for new designers – words Al Woods
Launched in 2013, the LVMH Prize was created to honour and support young fashion designers who are hoping to make their mark on the world. Each year, 1 young designer and 3 fashion school graduates claim the prestigious prize and are subsequently catapulted into the fashion industry.
The prize is split into two parts; first, the Young Fashion Designers’ prize. This is open to designers from every country. The only criteria are that you must be under 40, and have produced at least 2 collections. The winner receives a €300,00 grant, and personalised technical and financial support for 12 months after the prize has been awarded.
The second part of the fashion prize is awarded to graduates. This is open to students of fashion schools who are completing a degree. 3 winners and their school receive a €10,000 grant and the opportunity to work as part of the design team at an LVMH brand for a year.
Past and future prizes
Last year’s winner was a nod towards the growing popularity of men’s clothing designers, but also the idea of gender fluidity thanks to Masayuki Ino’s Japanese brand Doublet.
Sitting on the panel to find fashion’s emerging talent is Marc Jacobs, Carol Lim, J.W Anderson, Delphine Arnault and the chairman and CEO of LVMH Fashion Group, Sidney Toledano.
The 2019 finalists represent the most diverse group of designers to make the cut since the prize was introduced. The group includes designers from Israel, Nigeria and South Africa for the first time ever.
The impact of the prize on the fashion industry
Every year, the LVMH Prize brings innovative ideas and firsts, reflecting the shift in behaviour and attitude. One of the common themes running through this years’ finalists is a commitment to ecological responsibility. Many of the designers’ focus is on upcycling.
The LVMH Prize is seen as the holy grail of fashion accolades. Winning can have an immediate impact on fledgling brands. Not only is the sudden influx of cash a very welcome addition to help get the brand off the ground, it’s the mentoring opportunity that proves invaluable to those who are still so new to the industry.
If nothing else, the prize offers an unrivalled beginning and introduction to a world of opportunity. Even to be nominated and shortlisted and provide that much-needed validation that designers are doing the right thing, and the network opportunities that can rise from being associated with the LVMH Prize can be staggering.
From the perspective of LVMH itself, the prize is a key driver in creating momentum and emergence of fresh talent. If no new designers rose to the top, the industry would quickly stagnate.
Giving new designers a platform to showcase their designs to some of the biggest names can help the industry to keep reinventing itself. This can pave the way for so much inspiration that brands across the world can take note of and use in their own way, therefore creating an environment that constantly pushes the boundaries.