thebe magugu
Photo by Dominique Maitre/WWD/Shutterstock

Thebe Magugu Wins the 2019 LVMH Prize

South African designer Thebe Magugu becomes the first person from the African continent to win the prestigious award. 

Earlier today, Johannesburg-based designer, Thebe Magugu received the LVMH Prize for Young Designers at the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris.

As part of the prize, Magugu will take home roughly $435,000 and will also receive personalised support from the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton Group over the next 12 months. Alicia Vikander, Academy Award winner and face of Louis Vuitton, presented Magugu with the honour.

Born in Kimberley, a small city in Northern Cape, Magugu moved to Johannesburg to study fashion design at LISOF. The 26-year-old designer founded his brand Thebe Magugu – a women’s ready to wear brand – in 2015.

His latest collection presented at South Africa Fashion Week received multiple ovations, not only for its designs but also for the mission statement behind it. After 25 years since apartheid came to an end, many people still see South Africa through the lens of violence and inequality. Magugu’s joyful and innovative designs try to shift people’s negative perspective of his country towards a more liberal and modern one.

“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,” says Magugu of his designs.

Magugu is the first African to win the LVMH Prize since its launch in 2013. The prize was created to honour and support young fashion designers around the world.

This is the first edition of the prize held since the death of Karl Lagerfeld, who was part of the LVMH Prize jury in past occasions. To honour Lagerfeld, one of the most influential names in the fashion industry, the runner-up prize formerly known as the LVMH Jury Prize was renamed as the Karl Lagerfeld Prize. This year’s Karl Lagerfeld Prize winner is Israeli designer Hed Mayner, who will receive around $220,000 and a year-long mentorship from LVMH experts.