Gender-Neutral Clothing Just Got a Major Fashion-Industry Boost
Up-and-coming designers that are definitely worth knowing.
Between all of the major fashion houses, fast-fashion stores, and Instagram brands out there, it can be pretty tough to break through the noise as an emerging designer. That’s where the LVMH Prize for Young Designers comes in. By providing funding, technical support, and access to a group of mentors (as in, editor-in-chiefs, models, and heads of retail sites), it’s a major win that can help catapult a career in fashion — and now, we know the finalists for 2019.
Narrowing the list down from over 1,700 applicants to just eight, a jury will now weigh in on a winner, which will be announced in June. One interesting fact about this core group? A good portion of these designers make gender-neutral clothing, which is something that the industry in general has been lacking. Another great tidbit is that a key theme of this year's awards is sustainability, and some even upcycle when it comes to sourcing materials (pretty cool, if you ask us).
This is also the first time in the six years since the prize's inception that finalists will be representing Israel, Nigeria, and South Africa, as well as the first competition in which the late Karl Lagerfeld won’t be included in the jury.
Whether these designers score the coveted top spot or not, all of their names will be worth remembering. While past winners like Marine Serre and Marques’Almeida have gone on to do great things, Virgil Abloh — of Off-White fame and the current creative director of Louis Vuitton menswear — was a 2015 finalist who lost, but ended up winning big in the long run.
Bode by Emily Adams Bode
Based in New York, Bode focuses on modern, luxury menswear, and frequently includes details like quilting and applique.
Hed Mayner by Hed Mayner
Israeli-based Hed Mayner's latest collection featured layers that were purposely disproportionate and oversized. These designs are gender-neutral as well.
Phipps by Spencer Phipps
Spencer Phipps is an American designer who is based in Paris. While Phipps started out making T-shirts, the brand's goal is to be globally conscious and create “educational clothing.” (In other words, those graphics are more than just a fun design.)
Stefan Cooke by Stefan Cooke and Jake Burt
This London-based menswear brand is known for its cool, digital textile techniques, and just last year, designer Stefan Cooke received H&M’s Design Award.
Thebe Magugu by Thebe Magugu
Described as contemporary South African womenswear, the focus for Thebe Magugu is “quality, novelty, and culture.”
Kenneth Izex by Kenneth Izedonmwen
According to Kenneth Ize’s site, this gender-neutral brand supports “a small community of weavers” and works “directly with a variety of artisan and design groups across Nigeria" to creat these peices.
Anrealage by Kunihiko Morinaga
A Japanese womenswear designer based in Tokyo who often features colorful patchwork in his designs.
Bethany Williams by Bethany Williams
This British designer doesn’t just make gender-neutral streetwear, she also uses recycled materials and donates portions of her proceeds to charity.