Designer Thebe Magugu attends the ‘Brave New Worlds’ International Showcase at Somerset House on February 11, 2019 in London, England.
Photo: Stuart C. Wilson (Getty Images)

African influence has long resonated throughout the fashion world, but on Wednesday it was formally recognized when 26-year-old South African designer Thebe Magugu was awarded the sixth annual LVMH Prize. The esteemed award, which includes a $331,125 grant and a yearlong mentorship with the luxury conglomerate, has never before been awarded to an African talent; notably, Nigerian designer Kenneth Izedonmwen (of label Kenneth Ize) was also among this year’s eight finalists.

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As reported by the Cut:

[Magugu] studied fashion design in Johannesburg before founding his namesake womenswear label in 2017. “Creating clothes with cultural significance, exploring social issues, sharing stories from my country, empowering those I can, and making beautiful yet functional clothes women want to wear has been a checklist I continually hold the brand to,” he wrote after becoming one of eight finalists for the Prize in March.

Kicking off the second of 2019’s biannual New York Fashion Weeks, Magugu’s recognition by the fashion juggernaut is an exciting harbinger of more inclusion in an industry desperately in need of more color and culture. No word yet on Magugu’s immediate plans, but to be sure, he will be one to watch.