Tomorrow, the winner of the 2018 LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers will be announced. Since 2012, the award has recognized young designers from around the world. It’s a big deal because it can help newcomers circumvent the initial hardships and obstacles that prevent designers from making it in the industry. It’s a potential fast track to fame and fortune.
The prize itself comprises 12 months of technical and financial support from the LVMH Group and a €300,000 (approximately $350,000) grant to help develop the winner’s collection. Previous award winners have included London menswear designer Grace Wales Bonner and Paris-based designer Marine Serre.
The judging panel is an impressive list of heavyweight creative directors such as J.W. Anderson, Maria Grazia Chiuri, Nicolas Ghesquière, Marc Jacobs, Karl Lagerfeld, Humberto Leon, Carol Lim, and Clare Waight Keller, as well as executives and advisors from the LVMH Group.
We’ve prepared a rundown of the nine finalists below. Take a look and let us know who you think deserves the prize. And be sure to stay tuned for our coverage of the event live from Paris on our Instagram @Highsnobiety tomorrow.
From: London, UK
In a nutshell: The chatter around Samuel Ross’ industrial aesthetic has made him one of the most significant fashion designers to come out of London for some time. A-COLD-WALL* is now synonymous with the British capital’s inimitable streetwear-slash-high-fashion style. The brand’s most recent editorial streamlined A-COLD-WALL*’s visual language perfectly. Check it out here.
From: The Netherlands but based in Antwerp, Belgium
In a nutshell: Speaking to CR Fashion Book, Rushemy Botter, one half of BOTTER, explained that the brand’s most recent collection had been inspired by tourists, particularly the way visitors try to fit in abroad by modifying their garms. BOTTER exaggerated this playfully with unbuttoned shirts, exposed labels, and a bright color palette. The duo — completed by Lisi Herrebrugh — can also count Naomi Campbell and Young Thug among the label’s fans.
Charles Jeffrey Loverboy
From: Scotland but based in London, UK
In a nutshell: This Scottish designer is known for his theatrical shows, paint-splattered prints, and his Loverboy-branded tartan. Charles Jeffrey shot to prominence when he snagged the British Emerging Talent — Menswear gong at The Fashion Awards in the UK in 2017. If he takes home the LVMH Prize, too, the young designer will surely have a license to keep surprising and thrilling his customers for years to come. For an example of Jeffrey’s idiosyncratic style, check out the crazy film he made to showcase his accessories range, currently on sale at Dover Street Market.
From: Tokyo, Japan
In a nutshell: Since the Japanese brand’s debut in 2013, Doublet (which makes ready-to-wear, shoes, and accessories) has established itself as one of the most creative streetwear lines around. Designer Masayuki Ino likes to work with basic products and add unique details. In his own words, “I’m trying to change the image of ‘normal wear’ into something that’s not yet been seen.” Check out the vibe in Doublet’s short fashion film here.
From: New York and Los Angeles, USA
In a nutshell: The American design duo Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta generated controversy when their SS17 campaign took the idea of “sex sells” quite literally, with IRL couples having sex while wearing Eckhaus Latta’s new designs. The brand offers more than just shock-value campaigns, though. Eckhaus Latta designs have tapped into the zeitgeist to make clothes for a new generation of liberated and questioning individuals.
From: France and the USA/Vietnam but based in London, UK
In a nutshell: London-based designers Léa Dickely and Hung La founded Kwaidan Editions in 2016, having previously worked with Rick Owens and Balenciaga respectively. The name of the brand is a reference to 1964 movie Kwaidan by cult director Masaki Kobayashi. Translated from Japanese, Kwaidan means “strange stories” and, naturally, the brand focuses on the eerie and the unsettling, creating beautiful garments with strong cinematic elements running throughout Kwaidan Editions’ collections.
Ludovic de Saint Sernin
From: Paris, France
In a nutshell: The 27-year-old designer worked under the design team at Balmain before launching his eponymous label in 2017. The designer has been using his label to explore the male sex. Inspired by photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, the provocative designs are modeled by men but intended to be worn as womenswear also.
Matthew Adams Dolan
From: New York, USA
In a nutshell: Born in Massachusetts, graduating from high school in rural Japan, and later traveling to Sydney, Australia, Matthew Adams Dolan finally graduated from the Parsons School for Design in New York City before dropping his debut SS16 collection. Dolan’s work challenges the state of the “American Dream” in 2018. Pleasantly subversive, Dolan’s designs explore the style codes of prep and ’80s NYC street style. Rihanna is a big fan of his enormous denim creations, too.
From: South Korea but based in London, UK
In a nutshell: Founded by Rok Hwang in 2016, the South Korean designer and Central Saint Martins graduate previously worked at Céline under Phoebe Philo. Eschewing the trivial nature of trends, Rokh pieces are designed to last a lifetime while reflecting timeless youth culture.
In other fashion news, James Jebbia was just crowned Menswear Designer of the Year at the CFDA Fashion Awards.