Lukhanyo Mdingi has been announced as the winner of the 2023 AMIRI Prize. Mdingi walks away with $100,000 and a year-long mentorship with the award’s founder, Mike Amiri and his contemporaries. Founded in 2015 after studying at the Cape Peninsula University in South Africa the 31-year-old designer has utilized the traditional artisan technique and collaboration with local artisans to make his designs distinct from everyone else. Winning this prize will help the designer develop his U.S. expansion.
The designer’s intricate and vibrant creations drew judges like editor and stylist Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, footwear designer Salehe Bembury, and designer Samuel Ross. Amiri says that Mdingi’s commitment to working with local South African artisans helped him standout in the running for the top prize. This collaboration within his community is reflective to what Amiri says is his own brand’s ethos.
“We’re incredibly thankful to the AMIRI Prize, its Jury Committee and Mike Amiri for the immeasurable opportunity extended to the Lukhanyo Mdingi label,” Mdingi said. “We look forward to receiving the fundamental guidance needed to steadily grow our independent business and vision.”
Other Black semifinalists that were in the running to win the lauded prize included Keith Herron of Advisry, Abdelgader El Tayeb of El Tayeb, Ewerike Chukwuma of WUMAN, and Maxwell Osborne of anOnlyChild.
“This year’s talent was exceptional, and it was difficult to select a frontrunner, but Lukhanyo’s vision and approach stood out to all of us,” Amiri said. “[Mdingi’s] recent collections have seen him fine-tune a singular aesthetic and sensibility, but just as commendable is the purpose behind what he does, for his wider community and culture,” he added.