Earlier this year, LVMH held its very first Young Fashion Designer Prize competition, which pitted several up-and-coming designers like Hood by Air’s Shayne Oliver and Simone Rocha against each other for a chance to win 300,000 euros and a year-long mentorship from LVMH’s bigwig designers. Thomas Tait is the very first recipient of the prize, and since being announced as the winner in September, is taking his winnings very seriously. While his brand has a loyal cult following, the next step for him would be to bring his label to a level of stability it hasn’t yet experienced. Before winning the prize, Tait says his line was struggling financially and though this much-needed injection of income is a big help, it’s not a cure-all for the challenges the line faces.
“I haven’t earned this 300,000 euros through sale and profit.…It’s a different thing, it’s a one-off payment and it’s not going to come again next year. So really, the focus is to make sure that I can take this money and help my business to make even more money, which is an easy thing to say—but not an easy thing to do,” the designer told WWD. “I was struggling, I was really struggling before, so it’s not like we’re fine and everything is flush, and I can just develop a new project or make something a bit better than it was before. A huge chunk of this money is actually going toward things that need immediate help—and then the rest of the money is going to be focused on and making sure that I can accept all of the orders that I want to accept, without saying no to any of them. I’ll be able to work with better terms, I’ll be able to know that I can actually go to production right away.”
But even with all the hurdles left to clear, Tait still has his eyes on the end goal, which is strengthening his brand. “They’ve seen me through thick and thin over the last five years,” he said. “And ideally making sure that the company becomes profitable to the point that it can continue to expand and grow for the next five years—ideally in an independent manner.”