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SA designer Thebe Magugu first African to win LVMH Prize

South African talent Thebe Magugu, 26, is the winner of the 2019 LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers, a global competition launched by the luxury fashion conglomerate in 2013 to support and honour young design talent.

Thebe Magugu. Credit: DR/LVMH Prize

Magugu is the first designer from Africa to scoop the coveted award and will receive a €300,000 grant and a year-long mentorship from executives at LVMH on everything from intellectual property, sourcing, production and distribution, image and communication, marketing to sustainable development. According to BoF, the young designer said he plans to put the money toward a studio space and to employ more artisans in South Africa.

The 2019 edition of the LVMH Prize drew over 1,700 entries from more than 100 countries, spread on all continents: a record since the Prize was launched.

The final round of the competition took place yesterday, 4 September 2019, at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, in the presence of five artistic directors from Houses of the LVMH group – Kris Van Assche (Berluti), Maria Grazia Chiuri (Dior), Nicolas Ghesquière (Louis Vuitton), and Clare Waight Keller (Givenchy) – as well as Delphine Arnault, Jean-Paul Claverie and Sidney Toledano.

Delphine Arnault stated: “I am delighted that, for the first time, an African candidate has won the Prize, all the more so since Thebe Magugu, aged 26, is the youngest designer of the 2019 selection. His creative work appropriates the codes of menswear and womenswear, of the traditional and the experimental, playing with volumes and traditional South-African know-how."

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Special mentions


As has been the case each year, the Jury also awarded a special prize, henceforth known as the Karl Lagerfeld Prize, in tribute to the great designer who passed away in February 2019 and who was actively involved in the LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers since its launch. The recipient of the 2019 Karl Lagerfeld Prize is Hed Mayner. Mayner, 33, Israeli, will receive €150,000 and enjoy a one-year mentorship programme provided by a dedicated LVMH team.

Hed Mayner. Credit: DR/LVMH Prize

"I would like to thank the eight finalists – from Europe, North America, the Middle East, Japan and Africa – who presented creations of an exceptional quality. I am delighted that the LVMH Prize contributes to placing the spotlight on Thebe Magugu and Hed Mayner, the two winners, and also to helping them develop their business,” said Arnault.

Furthermore, three young graduates from fashion schools were distinguished: Alice Paris, a graduate from Accademia Costume & Moda, Rome, Daisy Yu, a graduate from Central Saint Martins, London, and Juliette Tréhorel, a graduate from Atelier Chardon Savard, Paris. They will benefit from decisive support as they begin their careers: they will, on the one hand, receive €10,000 and will, on the other hand, join the studios of three Houses of the LVMH group for one year – namely, this year, respectively the Houses of Givenchy, Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior.

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About Thebe Magugu


Originally from Kimberley, Magugu moved to Johannesburg to study fashion design, fashion photography and fashion media at LISOF. After winning best graduate collection, he interned and worked for a selection of designers fashion institutions and retailers. After 2 years, he began his namesake label, Thebe Magugu - a South African fashion brand primarily operating within the field of women’s ready-to-wear.

View this post on Instagram

‘Magugu’s South African heritage powers what he wants his collections to say. “I come from a Tswana/ Sotho heritage—two tribes known for their storytelling—and I like to think I continue a sense of that in my work,” he explains’. //Key pieces from the collections “Art History” and “African Studies” are interpreted in this arresting series by Photographer Kent Andreasen and Stylist Kristi Vlok, exclusive to The Last Magazine// Red Floral Twill Parka + Elasticated Powder Blue Jacket The Elasticated Powder Blue Jacket is available at @thenativenation_ in Lyon, France. @thelastmagazine Interview by: Francine Heath @francine_lou Photographer: Kent Andreasen @kentandreasen Stylist: Kristi Vlok @kristivlok Model: Winnie Joy @aketchjoywinnie Makeup artist: Sian Bianca Moss @sianbiancamoss_portfolio

A post shared by Thebe Magugu (@thebemagugu) on


Speaking about the brand, the designer says, “together with our pillar values of quality, novelty and culture, we constantly seek new ways of presenting women with clothing that both complies with and enhances the everyday. Sleek, forward-looking design intersects with motifs from our continent’s storied past, providing smart, multifaceted clothes as valuable as their woman.”.

The seventh edition of the LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers will take place in June 2020.
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