With the finalists for the 9th Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy Prize for Young Fashion Designers chosen, it is incredible to yet again see a wide range of fashions and inspirations from all around the world. The LVMH Fashion Prize started in November 2013 and has supported some of the best young talent the world has to offer. The LVMH Prize consists of a few different levels of award. The winner gets 300,000 Euro for the development of their fashion and brand as well as a year of professional guidance from partners within the LVMH conglomerate. Secondly, there is the slightly smaller Karl Lagerfeld award, which consists of a 150,000 Euro prize and the same one-year mentorship program. Lastly, three students graduating in 2022 will be awarded 10,000 euros, and a placement into the design studio of a LVMH brand. The recognition alone from any of these prizes is enough to bolster the popularity of any design house, but what I think is neat about the prize is the international brand aspect of LVMH coming in to support these young talents. The business of fashion is notoriously fickle, and when you have so much talent as a domestic brand, or a more niche side of fashion, it might be hard to get the flow of revenue you need to meet your expectations as a brand. Cutting corners has not usually helped with a brand’s popularity.
This year’s list of finalists could not be more exciting. Ashlyn, ERL, Knwls, Roisin Pierce, Ryunosukeokazi, S.S. Daley, Tokyo James and Winnie New York are the 9 finalists for this year. Overall, I think that the breath of designs, cultural backgrounds and approaches to fashion are all so beautifully different from one another. The clout that each of the artists have garnered is from different areas of the fashion industry as well. Not only are the finalists popular in some small corner of high fashion, but street wear as well. The prize is not completely about fashion itself, rather, what the artist can bring to the world that others cannot. Delphine Arnault, vice president of LVMH, stated that she was drawn into the innovation and know-how of fashion as well as their brand’s approach to environmental concerns of production, sourcing, marketing, and image. In their own rights, I think each of the finalists will have a very successful career whether they win any sort of prize; they have each reached a certain level of performance that has been ubiquitously noted. Although all the finalists have jaw dropping collections under their belts, here are my two cents on who is going to win first and second place. This assessment is solely based on how I think LVMH as a massive conglomerate will choose the next winners based on marketability, artistic innovation, and environmental standards.
ERL is my choice for the second-place prize winner because of their modern takes on late 1980’s street wear and their connections with A$AP Rocky, Kim Kardashian and Lady Gaga, all very influential names in fashion and pop culture. ERL has a specific aesthetic that I think is very sustainable and easy to understand. A sort of Breakfast Club hot teen look that that takes a lost era of masculine American fashion and turns it into something quite unisex and effortlessly classic. Their quilt that went viral on A$AP Rocky at the MET Gala 2021 is something to be considered but I doubt that it will win ERL any awards in its own. I feel as if ERL might win based on their timelessness and recent creative growth in the fashion industry. I also shamelessly love the beat up Osiris sneakers they used in their recent lookbook.
In first I envision Ashlyn New York. Ashlyn Park is a designer that seems like she was in the right places at the right times. Working at Calvin Klein alongside Raf Simons, making custom designs for Alexander Wang as well as starting her career working for Yohji Yamamoto. She has experienced and been mentored by some of the all-time greats of fashion, and it shows with her last few collections. With a very androgynous and monotone palate, apart from a few pieces, you can see the influence of Yamamoto’s and Simons’ elegant and sensible yet visually enamoring designs. Ashlyn also acknowledges the industry of waste that the Fashion industry has become and with her collections, looks toward protecting the planet and her children, rather than making yet another fashion product. With that, I think they deserve to win first prize from LVMH.