South African fashion designer Thebe Magugu has won the prestigious Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) prize, making him the first ever African to do so. Magugu also wins €300,000 (over R4.9 million) and year long mentoring from the LVMH group.

Launched in 2013, the LVMH prize honours and supports young designers worldwide. More than 1700 entrants from 100 countries competed for the top spot this year. Eight Finalists, including Magugu, got the chance to showcase their work at Paris Fashion week earlier this year. The final winner was chosen by a panel of world-renowned judges such as fashion designer Marc Jacobs, Dior creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri, and Givenchy’s creative director Clare Waight Keller.

Originally from Kimberly, Magugu designs his own self-titled ready-to-wear women’s line. “My overarching mission as a designer is to showcase a contemporary South Africa,” Magugu told Vogue. “So many people have stale ideas of what that means and I really want to change that. There are so many creatives doing incredible work in South Africa. I’m looking forward to traveling but I really want to stay there because it feeds my own creativity.”

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Semi-Formal Pleated Shirt Dress in Ice Blue + Tartan Mini Dress • From the collection, “African Studies”

A post shared by Thebe Magugu (@thebemagugu) on


Speaking about entering the competition, Magugu says, “As a creative you’re always questioning yourself, but people around me told me there was no harm trying. I went into it like a child, and got the chance to speak to my design heroes like Clare Waight Keller and Nicolas Ghesquière. So no matter the outcome, I already felt like I’d won so many things. This is like the cherry on top.”


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