Nigerian luxury brand, BLOKE, has been announced as one of the nominees of the LVMH Prize 2023, which rewards innovative and upcoming designers. The prize is one of the most prestigious awards in the world for young creatives.
Founded in 2015 by creative director Faith Oluwajimi, the Lagos-based brand is known for its genderless collections, which are striking for their performative, wearable functions and artful characteristics.
BLOKE joins 21 other semi-finalists, who were chosen from a record number of more than 2,400 applications, which underscores the wide resonance of the award. This year’s semi-finalists hail from all over the world including China, South Korea, Estonia, India, Japan, Nigeria, Taiwan, Sweden and, for the first time, Brazil and Jamaica. Among the nominees are Diotima by Rachel Scott, Raul Lopez’s Luar and Indian brand Karu Research.
“I’m really humbled being the only African designer representing Africa and its diaspora as an LVMH prize 2023 finalist”, Oluwajimi said in a statement posted on Instagram. “This is a wild dream unfolding for my teenage self who has been driven till date by a lot of incessant seemingly crazy ideas and aspirations without a formal design training, fueled by sheer tenacity and unrelenting passion for design as a medium for self expression”.
The LVMH Prize, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, will be presented online with voting open to the public, alongside a committee of industry experts such as celebrity stylist Law Roach and Vogue editor Gabriella Karefa-Johnson. The designers will gather in Paris to showcase their collections on March 2 and 3, who will select eight of them as finalists.
“When we launched the Prize, the idea was to help highlight tomorrow’s talents,” says Delphine Arnault, CEO of Christian Dior. “After the last 10 years, it has enabled hundreds, if not thousands of young designers to develop their creativity and careers.”
The eventual winner will receive a EUR 300,000 award and mentorship by LVMH teams in sustainability, communications, marketing, legal, production and finance. Another finalist will be names the winner of the Karl Lagerfeld Prize, and will be awarded a EUR 150,000 prize along with a year’s mentorship from LVMH experts.
The annual Prize has boosted the careers of previous winners, including South Africa’s Thebe Magugu, British designer Wales Bonner and Ahluwalia.
“I hope this inspires kids who look like me from places I’m from to keep the dream alive and keep reaching for the stars,” says Oluwajimi. “This is for me, you and every single dreamer out there, keep dreaming and pushing those boundaries even when it feels like a lonely untreaded path.”