Last year saw some of the most dramatic upheavals in fashion history. Fashion weeks went online and now so has the highly coveted LVMH Prize. The 20 semi-finalists for the award’s first pandemic class will show their collections in digital showrooms from April 6 to 11. And for the first time ever, visitors will be able to cast their votes, too.
The 2021 LVMH Prize is open to designers under 40 who have produced at least two ready-to-wear collections – men’s, women’s, or unisex. This year, Renaissance Renaissance became the first-ever Arab woman to be shortlisted for the prize. The line-up also includes a number of Highsnobiety favorites, including Kidsuper, Bianca Saunders, and Saul Nash.
Of the 1,900 people who applied, the jury — composed of artistic directors and leading figures from the LVMH Group — selected designers from a cross-section of the industry, hailing from Nigeria, Japan, Albania, South Africa, and beyond. Louis Vuitton's Vice President Delphine Arnault wrote: “I am very grateful to all the candidates from more than 110 countries for taking part in this year's competition and I would like to congratulate the semi-finalists.”
“These initiatives echo the shift in the fashion and luxury industries,” she explained. “Among the semi-finalists, seven do womenswear, five menswear, and two do both womenswear and menswear. Six of them design genderless collections. This edition also saw the return of knitwear, body-conscious garments and the celebration of color among certain designers.”
The winner will receive a €300,000 prize and a year of mentorship from designers and executives within LVMH. Meanwhile, the winner of the Karl Lagerfeld special prize will receive a €150,000 sum and a year of mentorship.
Naomi Osaka and Bella Hadid will be joining the LVMH judges this year and Vogue China’s Margaret Zhang will be pressing the grand prize.
Scroll down to learn about all 20 semi-finalists of the LVMH Prize.
A British womenswear brand based in the United Kingdom, designed by Alicia Robinson. Robinson is a Chelsea College of Art graduate who has worked with the likes of Yeezy and A-Cold-Wall before establishing AGR in 2018.
A British menswear brand based in the United Kingdom, designed by Bianca Saunders. A distinctive new voice in the menswear arena, RCA alumnus Bianca Saunders specializes in proposing jarring twists to succinct garments and playing with notions of masculinity.
Christopher John Rogers
A womenswear brand based in the United States, designed by Christopher John Rogers. Since launching his eponymous brand, the designer’s unapologetic use of color, voluminous silhouettes, and eye-catching tailoring have won him a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award and a loyal fanbase, including Zendaya, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Michelle Obama.
An American womenswear brand based in the United Kingdom, designed by Conner Ives. Graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2020, Ives has already dressed Adwoa Aboah for the Met Gala and been part of the inaugural design team behind Rihanna’s LVMH-backed label, Fenty.
An Italian genderless brand based in Italy, designed by Frederico Cina. Founded in 2019, Frederico Cina became a leading brand in the tailoring world by bringing sophisticated and elegant looks on the catwalk inspired by the romantic history and culture of the Romagna region.
An American menswear brand based in the United States, designed by Colm Dillane. Since Kidsuper was first featured by Highsnobiety in 2017, the Brooklyn, NY-based brand run by Dillane and his rag-tag group of friends has gone from strength to strength, while his graphics have reached a whole new level.
A Columbian womenswear brand based in Columbia, designed by Kika Vargas. After studying Fine Art and Fashion Design at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Marangoni Fashion Institute in Milan respectively, she went to work at Missoni, which she credits for igniting her love of color.
Lagos Space Programme
A genderless brand based in Nigeria, designed by Adeju Thompson. The brand’s manifesto outlines an ethical movement with a focus on craft focusing on typologies and a return to the idea of durable, long-lasting, sustainable clothing, and artisanal sensibilities.
A womenswear and menswear brand based in South Africa, designed by Lukhanyo Mdingi. Since its inception in 2015, Lukhanyo Mdingi's eponymous brand has collaborated with artisans and communities to bring their heritage to timeless premium pieces while providing a platform to support, through continuous work and awareness.
A Japanese genderless brand designed by Tadu Midorikawa.The experimental label has won fans by composing eye-catching contemporary garments inspired by bygone eras.
An Albanian womenswear brand based in the United Kingdom, designed by Nensi Dojaka. Another Highsnobiety favorite, Nensi Dojaka launched her namesake label while finishing her BA at the London College of Fashion in 2017. Now a Central Saint Martins alum, Dojaka's designs heavily reference 90s aesthetics, experimenting with sheer fabrics and asymmetric shapes.
Post Archive Faction
A Korean menswear brand based in South Korea, designed by Dongjoon Lim. Launched Post Archive Faction in 2018, Post Archive Faction unites avant-garde sportswear with futuristic outerwear. Apocalyptic and “ant-facist,” PAF is hard to define yet eerily apt for the current climate.
A Lebanese womenswear brand based in Lebanon and France, designed by Cynthia Mehrej. After graduating from Central Saint Martins in London, Merhej returned to Beirut in 2016 to found Renaissance. She is the third in her family's generation of women to begin her own atelier, following in the footsteps of her great-grandmother and mother.
An Italian genderless brand based in France, designed by Andreas Steiner. He studied in Milan, London, and worked at Prada, Miu Miu, and Louis Vuitton before starting his brand. Steiner says Rier “balances the love for outdoor activities, nature, crafts, and healthy lifestyle with refinement, sophistication and humble luxury, to soften the, fast paced reality of city life.”
A Chinese genderless brand based in China, designed by Rui Zhou. Rui's statement knit bodysuit quickly became a favorite with celebrities including Chloe x Halle. Her designs feature peekaboo cut-outs that refocus the attention of a typical bodysuit and explore the space between the skin and the fabric.
A British menswear brand based in the United Kingdom, designed by Saul Nash. Nash is a Designer and Choreographer from North East London. Bridging the gap between Luxury Menswear & Activewear the brand exists to produce unique contemporary technical garments cut & designed for the liberation of movement.
A Chinese womenswear brand based in China, designed by Shuting Qiu. Her eponymous label was established in 2017, putting forward a signature sense of femininity that features a “modern romantic” woman expressed through asymmetry and experimentation in silhouette, often rendered in rich contrasting colors of silk jacquards, intricate embroidery, and floral prints.
A Japanese menswear brand designed by Takuya Morikawa. Morikawa established TAAKK in 2012 after 7 years of working with the Issey Miyake. The brand's concept is "UNREALISTIC REALITY" and features experimental silhouettes and proportions, as well as cutting-edge fabrics.
A British womenswear brand based in the United Kingdom, designed by Amy Trinh and Evan Phillips. Wed is recognized for addressing the "one day dress" concept; disrupting the market with an aesthetic inspired by the concepts of surrealism, imaginative drape, and creative cutting techniques.