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Fashion designer bags top award

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"There are so many creatives doing incredible work in South Africa. I’m looking forward to travelling but I really want to stay here because it feeds my own creativity.”

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A FORMER Kimberley pupil and now a South African designer, Thebe Magugu, has been announced as the winner of the coveted LVMH (Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton) international prize.

Magugu, 26, who is currently based in Johannesburg, will receive a 300 000 euro grant and enjoy a one-year mentoring programme provided by a dedicated LVMH team covering many elds of expertise (intellectual property, sourcing, production and distribution, image and communication, marketing and sustainable development).

The LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers took place on Wednesday at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, in the presence of ve artistic directors from Houses of the LVMH group – Kris Van Assche (Berluti), Maria Grazia Chiuri (Dior), Nicolas Ghesquiere (Louis Vuitton), and Clare Waight Keller (Givenchy) – as well as Delphine Arnault, Jean-Paul Claverie and Sidney Toledano.

Magugu was selected as the winner from eight finalists, including Nigerian Kenneth Ize, British designer Bethany Williams and Hed Mayner from Israel.

Earlier this year, Magugu won the 2019 International Fashion Showcase in London.

Magugu was born and raised in Kimberley and matriculated at St Patrick’s College CBC before studying Fashion and Apparel Design at Lisof Fashion School in Johannesburg.

The LVMH Prize is a platform created by Delphine Arnault, the executive vice president of Louis Vuitton, to honour and support young fashion designers around the world.

When he was announced as one of the top 20 semi-finalists of the award, out of more than 1 700 applicants, Magugu said he was “so honoured to be nominated for the LVMH Prize in Paris”.

“Growing up and watching the designers under LVMH – the company that holds Louis Vuitton, Dior, Givenchy, Celine and Loewe – is one of the things that has kept my passion for what I do because they all supported and showed this idea that fashion, even through the commerce, is a wildly transportive, intelligent and often surreal industry. So to make the shortlist of the prestigious LVMH Prize will forever be one of my most cherished accomplishments.”

Having just turned 26, Magugu is the youngest of this year’s finalists as well as the first from Africa to land in the finals.

Arnault was quoted as stating that “the creativity of his designs is great – the colours, the cuts, it’s very feminine. We saw the talent, and we also saw the challenges – in export for example. It’s great to find talent with a huge potential.”

According to Magugu, he will not be uprooting to Paris just yet.

“My overarching mission as a designer is to showcase a contemporary South Africa,” he said. “So many people have stale ideas of what that means and I really want to change that. There are so many creatives doing incredible work in South Africa. I’m looking forward to travelling but I really want to stay here because it feeds my own creativity.”