The LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers is changing things up in wake of the coronavirus epidemic. Instead of one winner receiving the €300,000 award, the sum will be split equally amongst all eight of the finalists named in February. The ceremony, planned for June 5, has also been canceled, meaning there will be no pomp, no coronation — just aid for emerging talent.
Three of the finalists were nominated for menswear — Casablanca by Charaf Tajer, Nicholas Daley, and Ahluwalia by Priya Ahluwalia — while the other five are all womenswear: Chopova Lowena by Emma Chopova and Laura Lowena, Peter Do, Sindiso Khumalo, Supriya Lele, and Tomo Koizumi by Tomotoka Koizumi.
"The health crisis poses an economic threat to young talent," the LVMH group said in a statement. "That is why the LVMH Prize has set up a fund in aid of young fashion designers that will notably be supplemented by the 2020 Karl Lagerfeld Prize allocation."
Wider aid will follow — In addition to this year's finalists, previous winners from the last six editions of the Prize for Young Fashion Designers and Karl Lagerfeld Prize will be eligible to receive financial aid upon application. LVMH renamed its secondary prize for Lagerfeld in 2019, months after his death. Hed Mayner won the first award last year. The prize comes with a €150,000 award.
LVMH says it'll announce further details for the program at a later date.
The luxury conglomerate isn't just helping designers — Last month, in response to COVID-19, LVMH converted its factories used for fragrances and cosmetics to produce hand sanitizer for French hospitals. The group also announced it would order 40 million face masks from China to help address the country's shortage. Deliveries of hand sanitizer began March 13, and LVMH said it would begin to distribute masks this month.
Of the eight Prize for Young Fashion Designers winners, Do is the only one based in America. Let's just hope that LVMH isn't a greater source of aid than the U.S. government. Though, it wouldn't really be surprising if that did turn out to the be case. The American fashion industry has already been more helpful when it comes to personal protection equipment than the Donald Trump administration. Companies like New Balance are making masks, too, even while the second-hand market for hypebeast-grade protective gear goes into overdrive.