Tokyo James Named 2022 LVMH Prize Finalist
Words by The Folklore Team
Congratulations are in order for designer Iniye Tokyo James and his eponymous brand Tokyo James on being selected as a finalist for this year’s prestigious LVMH Prize, which has, in the past, been awarded to designers such as Thebe Magugu and Grace Wales Bonner.
In 2015 James, a former stylist and creative director, launched Tokyo James after relocating from London in the UK to his home state of Lagos in Nigeria with an aim to cater to modern men who appreciate simplicity with an edge.
The brand’s growth has seen the designer put an emphasis on traditional techniques and clean lines, as well as silhouettes that are contemporary while offering plenty of wearability. Tokyo James is widely known for its specialized suiting, which boasts playful prints and daring embellishments.
Tokyo James is joined by seven other finalists – Ashlyn, SS Daley, Roisin Pierce, Winnie New York, ERL, KNWLS and RYUNOSUKEOKAZAKI – all vying for the final prize. Selected from a shortlist of 20 designers, the eight finalists hail from around the world, including South Korea, Ireland, the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan.
The highly coveted prize has been instrumental in raising the visibility of emerging or under-the-radar brands – even as just finalists – bringing with it the benefit and possibility of financial assistance, production support and increased sales.
While some of the finalists have spent years under the media radar and will benefit principally from the marketing exposure, others are more focused on the possibility of practical support with production, employee recruitment and financial matters. But James is aware of the added strains that can come from just being a finalist or going on to win the big prize, and he hopes to grow organically into a luxury powerhouse. “We want to have a very slow and steady trajectory to becoming that household name across the world that everyone loves and recognises,” he recently told Vogue Business. If he wins, James is hoping to use the prize money to develop his manufacturing operation in Nigeria, create jobs in his city and support the local economy.
The winner of the 2022 edition, set to be announced later this year, will receive a €300,000 grant and as well as a year-long mentorship from the LVMH team.