Following in the footsteps of another young Canadian designer, Thomas Tait, Vejas Kruszewski is slated to compete against 22 other brands from around the world in the hopes of winning more than $452,000 (€300,000) as part of the LVMH Prize. The prize was created by the French-based Louis Vuitton Moët Hennsey Group in 2013 to support emerging talent in the fashion industry. Judges on the panel include top designers such as Marc Jacobs, Phoebe Philo and Jonathan Anderson.
Kruszewski is challenging other emerging labels labels such as Wanda Nylon, Ms Min and Alex Mullins for the top spot, which, in addition to the cash prize, also garners a year of specialized business support from the LVMH group. The Lithuanian-Canadian designer, who is originally from Montreal, has already made on the fashion landscape; his bold designs can be found on the racks of influential retailers such as Opening Ceremony in the United States. "At this point I am just honoured to be recognized by such a prestigious organization, and humbled by the support from the panel and the community," Kruszewski told The Globe and Mail as he prepared to take his collection to Paris. "It's a huge vote of confidence, and I welcome the opportunity to show our work on a broader platform."
Quebec-born Tait, who is now based in London, took home the prize in 2014. Other winners include American Shayne Oliver's label Hood by Air and Portuguese designers Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida of Marques'Almeida. Both brands have gained a boost in international visibility, which is a much needed advantage in the competitive industry. "I think it's incredible that LVMH invests in young talent in such an involved way, and it's a huge opportunity to show your work on a world stage to mentors who are industry icons themselves," Kruszewski says.
The winner will be announced during Paris Fashion Week in March. Louis Vuitton Moët Hennesy owns fashion houses including Christian Dior, Balenciaga, and the 162-year-old French design-house in its name.