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Satoshi Kuwata, from Setchu, Triumphs as the Recipient of the Prestigious LVMH Prize, the Fashion Industry’s Premier Young Designer Award

The 2023 LVMH Prize for Young Designers was awarded to Satoshi Kuwata, the Japanese designer and inventor of Setchu, a brand that unites East and West via workmanship and metamorphosis.

He will be paired with an LVMH executive for a year and given a monetary award of 400,000 euros (about $429,000.

Julie Pelipas, creator of the Ukrainian women’s clothing brand Bettter, and Luca Magliano, founder of the Italian men’s wear brand Magliano, were honoured with the Karl Lagerfeld special jury prize. Both will get €200,000 and a year of guidance from an industry expert.

The LVMH award is an early indicator of industry-wide shifts, particularly among young designers who are voicing the social and political concerns of their age via their work. Gender fluidity and eco-friendliness have been frequent topics in the past.

Delphine Arnault, CEO of Dior and eldest child of LVMH founder Bernard Arnault, said that Mr Kuwata’s selection is a nod to the value of cross-cultural exchange and the adaptability of the Setchu line of clothing. A ribbed pullover, for instance, may be undone to reveal its hidden cardigan and gilet modes, while another garment can be folded into a compact packable square in the style of origami.

The winner was selected by Maria Grazia Chiuri, the creative director of Dior, and Jonathan Anderson, the creative director of Loewe, together with three senior officials from LVMH.

More than seventy-five premium brands are owned by LVMH, making it the biggest luxury goods holding company in the world. This award was created in 2014 to help people better grasp the global nature of the fashion industry and to encourage fresh talent at a time when it is becoming more difficult to launch a successful solo venture. To be eligible, a designer must be under the age of 40 and have released at least two ready-to-wear collections. There were 2,400 applications from designers all across the globe this year, narrowing the field down to nine finalists.

The LVMH panel has proven to be quite effective so far in spotting promising newcomers. The Albanian designer Nensi Dojaka, whose deconstructed lingerie aesthetic recorded the post-pandemic trend towards naked dressing, Simon Porte Jacquemus, that brand, Jacquemus, has grown into the avatar of modern Côte d’Azur dressing, and the British designer Grace Wales Bonner, whose work mines her Jamaican heritage, have all won the award in the past.

Mr Kuwata, 39, founded his own collection in 2020 after working for Givenchy, Gareth Pugh, and Edun. He studied at Central Saint Martins in London and earned a degree there.

Ms. Pelipas has said that she plans to invest the funds towards the development of software that would enable her company and others to undertake large-scale dead-stock manufacture. Mr. Magliano has said that he plans to invest the funds towards hiring more designers.

Mr. Kuwata has said that he plans to utilise the money to rent an office space initially. Next, he planned to launch his own e-commerce company selling clothing and accessories.

Jonathan James
Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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