Thebe Magugu. (Pic: DR/LVMH Prize)
Rising South African fashion designer Thebe Magugu has scooped a major international award, taking home the coveted LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers.
The Johannesburg-based Magugu was awarded the prize at the Fondation Louis Vuitton museum in Paris, beating out eight finalists – including Nigeria’s Kenneth Izedonmwen – from around the globe.
The 26-year-old will receive 300,000 euros and enjoy a one-year mentorship program provided by a dedicated LVMH team. This years’ prize, the 6th annual edition, attracted 1,700 applicants from more than 100 countries.
Delphine Arnault, director and executive vice president of Louis Vuitton and one of the judges, said: “I am delighted that, for the first time, an African candidate has won the Prize, all the more so since Thebe Magugu, aged 26, is the youngest designer of the 2019 selection. His creative work appropriates the codes of menswear and womenswear, of the traditional and the experimental, playing with volumes and traditional South-African know-how.”
It’s been a banner year for Magugu who in February was crowned the winner of the International Fashion Showcase (IFS) 2019 at London Fashion Week, where he was described by judges as “a leader of his generation.”
He was also recently profiled by The New York Time’s T-Magazine as part of their 15 New Creative Talents to watch and was featured in the September issue of British Vogue.
Magugu is originally from Kimberley. He moved to Johannesburg to study fashion design, fashion photography and fashion media at LISOF.
After winning best graduate collection, he interned and worked for a selection of designers, fashion institutions and retailers. Two years later, he began his namesake label, Thebe Magugu – primarily operating within the field of women’s ready to wear.
Speaking about his brand, the designer said: “Together with our pillar values of quality, novelty and culture, we constantly seek new ways of presenting women with clothing that both complies with and enhances the everyday. Sleek, forward-looking design intersects with motifs from our continent’s storied past, providing smart, multifaceted clothes as valuable as their woman”.