LONDON, United Kingdom — This year’s LVMH Prize will have no winner. The final leg of the young designer competition, slated to take place at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris on June 5, has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, finalists Ahluwalia, Casablanca, Chopova Lowena, Nicholas Daley, Peter Do, Sindiso Khumalo, Supriya Lele and Tomo Koizumi will share the €300,000 (approximately $328,000) prize money equally.
LVMH has also pledged to support previous winners of the prize with a new fund. Eligible brands, including Thebe Magugu, Doublet, Marine Serre, Wales Bonner, Marques Almeida, Thomas Tait and Miuniku will be able to apply for grants. The size of the fund was undisclosed.
The six previous winners of the LVMH Karl Lagerfeld Prize — a cohort including Hood by Air, Jacquemus and Kozaburo — will also be eligible for support.
The initiatives may prove a vital lifeline as store closures, crashing consumer demand and supply chain disruptions leave a growing number of independent fashion labels facing existential challenges.
“Since its launch, the LVMH Prize has promoted and nurtured young talent,” said Louis Vuitton Executive Vice President Delphine Arnault in a statement. “In this challenging context, this Fund in aid of young fashion designers highlights the main mission of the LVMH Prize by supporting our former winners.”
Finalist Peter Do told BoF that the money will allow him to retain his team. "I think the decision to share the final award money is the right thing to do — it’s good for everyone and sends the right message and support to independent designers," Do wrote in an email. "The prize means ...we can make sure that every member who has helped build the brand with blood, sweat and tears is supported at this time."
Italy’s Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana, the British Fashion Council and the Council of Fashion Designers of America have also launched programs to bolster emerging labels, which often operate season-to-season with limited cash runways and now face an avalanche of cancelled orders.
The LVMH Prize final is just the latest in a slew of global fashion events to be affected as lockdown measures keep executives, creatives and workers in countries like the US, UK, Italy and France at home.
Fashion Week events in Japan, South Korea, Turkey, South Africa, Brazil and Russia have been cancelled or digitised. The upcoming men’s runways in London, Milan and Paris, and July’s haute couture shows have also been cut. It seems likely that fashion shows may be cancelled for the rest of the year.
Disclosure: LVMH is part of a group of investors who, together, hold a minority interest in The Business of Fashion. All investors have signed shareholders’ documentation guaranteeing BoF’s complete editorial independence.