Adeju Thompson & Lukhanyo Mdingi Make Semi-final of LVMH 2021 Prize for young fashion designers

With the COVID19 pandemic which took a strong hold of 2020, many young and upcoming fashion designers found it hard – in fact 2020 will forever be remembered as a hard year for fashion. Many business had to sought for new and innovative ways to stay in business. The 2021 LVMH Prize represent the award’s first pandemic class, bringing to light the many ways these young talents have had to adapt and expand in trying times. In its eighth (8) edition, the LVMH prize offers the winning designer receives a 300,000-euro prize and a year of mentorship from an team of LVMH experts; the winner of the Karl Lagerfeld special prize will receive a 150,000-euro sum and a year of mentorship.

The LVMH Prize semi-finalists for 2021, from top left: AGR’s Alicia Robinson, Bianca Saunders, Charles de Vilmorin, Christopher John Rogers, Conner Ives, Frederico Cina, KidSuper’s Colm Dillane, Kika Vargas, Lagos Space Programme’s Adeju Thompson, Lukhanyo Mdingi, Midorikawa Official’s Taku Midorikawa, Nensi Dojaka, Post Archive Faction’s Dongjoon Lim, Renaissance Renaissance’s Cynthia Mehrej, Rier’s Andreas Steiner, Rui’s Rui Zhou, Saul Nash, Shuting Qiu, Taakk’s Takuya Morikawa, and Wed’s Evan Phillips and Amy TrinhPhoto: Courtesy of LVMH

Among the 20 semifinalist are Nigeria’s Adeju Thompson and South Africa’s Lukhanyo Mdingi. Adeju Thompson is the lead designer and founder of Lagos Space Programme, a Nigerian based genderless brand. While Lukhanyo Mdingi is the mastermind behind eponymous South African womenswear and menswear brand Lukhanyo Mdingi which is based in South Africa.

Other semi-finalists come from China, France, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States, and, for the first time, from Albania and Colombia, thus expressing a great diversity of cultures and talents. Their collections will be shown in a virtual showroom from April 6 to 11, and in an LVMH Prize first, visitors will be able to vote on their favorites.

“This year, over 1,900 people applied: Young designers are showing great maturity in their work,” said Delphine Arnault, executive vice president of Louis Vuitton and founder of the LVMH Prize. “Today, designers are asked to be much more than designers, and the candidates have adapted to this new reality. They are very aware of their image, they build their businesses…and above all, they think about creation and its environmental issues. 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.”

In 2019, Kenneth Ize and Thebe Magugu also from Nigeria and South Africa respectively made the finals, and Thebe Magugu eventually won the competition. 

This years 2021 LVMH Prize semi-finalists are: 

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

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

Bianca Saunders, a British menswear brand based in the United Kingdom, designed by Bianca Saunders, 28

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Post Archive Faction, a Korean menswear brand based in South Korea, designed by Dongjoon Lim, 29

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

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

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

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

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

Taakk, a Japanese menswear brand based in Japan, designed by Takuya Morikawa, 39

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

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