Steven Stokey Daley, the founder of his eponymous S.S. Daley brand, has won the 2022 LVMH Prize, while his peers Eli Russell Linnetz (ERL) and Idris Balogun (Winnie New York) earned the Karl Lagerfeld Prize. It's big news, big enough that Daley himself couldn't believe it.
"It's kinda just sinking in now," the 25-year-old designer said in a post-win interview with press. "It feels like the highest form of validation ever."
Daley's excitement about winning the prize — which includes €300k and a dedicated mentorship — was only amplified by meeting members of the LVMH Prize jury whom he's admired since being in fashion school, especially J.W. Anderson, Kim Jones, and Stella McCartney.
"They also came up through London," Daley continued. "It feels incredible to have met them."
All eight LVMH Prize 2022 finalists — ERL, S.S. Daley, Winnie New York, Ashlyn, KNWLS, Roisin Pierce, RYUNOSUKEOKAZAKI, and Tokyo James — boasted some of the most eco-conscious collections of any LVMH Prize thus far, but Daley is especially keen on eco-conscious craft.
His hand-crocheted knitwear and one-off shirts, nearly all made in Liverpudlian factories close to where Daley grew up, may have helped tip the LVMH Prize in his favor. If nothing else, they won over Harry Styles, who inspired a bespoke cardigan style and even wore Daley's designs on the cover of his latest album.
"We had a set amount of 'Harry' cardigans in production and we sold through all of those units in the first day," Daley said. "We had to call production and add more units."
"I really want to invest [the LVMH Prize money] into expanding the team and focusing on our direct-to-consumer and wholesale models. I kinda do it all myself but I'd love to hire someone who can help with that side of the business."
That's really the only change you can expect from S.S. Daley in the future, though, as the designer is keen on keeping his brand otherwise unchanged, even as it scales for growth.
"Winning the LVMH Prize won't stop me from working locally," Daley continued. "We've been careful not to lose our roots, though maybe we can start putting in larger production [orders] with London factories. I guess that's what the Prize money will let me do: keep working locally."
Daley roots are so core to his worldview that they were his excuse for departing the interview.
"It's all been a whirlwind, but I'd like to go speak to my family," he laughed. "I haven't even told them that I've won yet."