Lukhanyo Mdingi semi-finalist for LVMH 2021


LVMH have shortlisted another South African designer for their 2021 award for a third straight year. 

Lukhanyo Mdingi has been named as a semi-finalist for the prestigious 2021 fashion prize that has assisted many successful fashion designers to create longevity brands that are worn across the world, including Jaquemus; Virgil Abloh, Grace Wales Bonner and Kozaburo Akasaka. 

Previous winners of the LVMH prize from South Africa include 2019 winner Thebe Magugu, and 2020 winner Sindiso Khumalo, who shared the award with seven other designers from across the world.

Previous winners Thebe Magugu (left) and Sindiso Khumalo (right). Picture: Instagram

Lukhanyo Mdingi was a finalist for the Elle Rising Star Award, and was selected to showcase his brand at the 2019 Autumn/Winter menswear and womenswear shows at New York Fashion Week’s most recent collection. 

His most recent collection, ‘For Coutts’ was released earlier this year, and the designer noted the collection also served as a tribute to late South African fashion designer Nicholas Coutts through Coutts’ signature hand woven techniques.

The only other shortlisted designer from Africa is Adeju Thompson based in Nigeria.

The 2021 winner will receive a €300,000 prize and a year of mentorship from designers and executives within LVMH.

The shortlisted names of young and upcoming designers were highlighted by LVMH for being determined innovators, who used the pandemic during 2020 to be more creative in their fashion collections and managed to stay in business.

Executive vice president of Louis Vuitton and LVMH prize founder Delphine Arnault said that there would be a number of changes and firsts for the prize, in an effort to be more diverse and up to date with the changing times of fashion. 

Some of these changes include appointing 23 year-old tennis player Naomi Osaka as the ambassador for the LVMH prize. Osaka will also serve as a judge on a panel that also has Vogue China’s new editor Margaret Zhang, and American model Bella Hadid. 

The semi-finalists for the 2021 prize. Lukhanyo Mdingi pictured in white. Picture: LVMH

Following the order of the image, the semi-finalists are: 

AGR by Alicia Robinson, 30 – a British womenswear brand based in the United Kingdom

Bianca Saunders by Bianca Saunders – a British menswear brand based in the United Kingdom

Charles de Vilmorin by Charles de Vilmorin, 25 – a French genderless brand based in France

Christopher John Rogers, an American womenswear brand based in the United States, designed by Christopher John Rogers, 28

Conner Ives by Conner Ives, 25 – an American womenswear brand based in the United Kingdom

Federico Cina by Frederico Cina, 27 – an Italian genderless brand based in Italy

KidSuper by Colm Dillane, 30 – an American menswear brand based in the United States

Kika Vargas by Kika Vargas, 38 – a Columbian womenswear brand based in Columbia

Lagos Space Programme by Adeju Thompson, 30 – a Nigerian genderless brand based in Nigeria

Lukhanyo Mdingi by Lukhanyo Mdingi, 29 – a South African womenswear and menswear brand based in South Africa

Midorikawa Official by Tadu Midorikawa, 39 – a Japanese genderless brand based in Japan

Nensi Dojaka by Nensi Dojaka, 28 – an Albanian womenswear brand based in the United Kingdom

Post Archive Fashion by Dongjoon Lim, 29 – a Korean menswear brand based in South Korea

Renaissance Renaissance by Cynthia Mehrej, 32 – a Lebanese womenswear brand based in Lebanon and France

Rier by Andreas Steiner, 36 – an Italian genderless brand based in France

Rui by Rui Zhou, 27 – a Chinese genderless brand based in China

Saul Nash by Saul Nash, 31 – a British menswear brand based in the United Kingdom

Shuting Qiu by Shuting Qiu, 27 – a Chinese womenswear brand based in China

Taakk by Takuya Morikawa,30 – a Japanese menswear brand based in Japan

Wed by Amy Trinh and Evan Phillips, both 30 – a British womenswear brand based in the United Kingdom.

In a first for LVMH, they announced that as each of the semi-finalists’ collections are previewed on LVMH’s website, the public would be able to vote for the collections of their choice from April 6 to April 11. 

“This year, over 1,900 people applied: Young designers are showing great maturity in their work,” said Arnault. 

“All the semi-finalists show a sincere and deep commitment, whether it be social, ethical, artisanal, environmental, or local. They are anchored in today’s world.”

Delphine Arnault added that some of the best qualities that she found in the 2021 slate of entries and semi-finalists included the young designers’ vision, their optimism, talent and commitment.

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