All clothing throughout by WINNIE New York

The 2022 LVMH Prize: WINNIE New York

When contemplating the new season for his acclaimed label WINNIE New York, Idris Balogun found himself on a hunt for the right linen. Unsatisfied with the selection, he decided to make his own. "I just think it's such a nice, natural fiber that drapes really well, breathes really well. It's sustainable, it's recyclable, it just makes sense," the Brooklyn-based designer says. "I just always find it so hard to find the perfect linen—something that is not too hard, something that is not too soft."

Adapting a fiber from the source allowed Balogun to customize its color and weight to suit his designs, while upholding the brand's sustainable ethos. His unabashed enthusiasm for the nuts and bolts of clothing production underscores that he is an artisan first and foremost.

This makes sense, considering his credentials. Balogun cut his teeth tailoring on London's Savile Row before moving on to brands like Tom Ford and Burberry under Christopher Bailey. Experiencing the full range of various production processes from bespoke tailoring to ready-to-wear sharpened his knowledge of the market while he refined his craft.

The 2022 LVMH Prize: WINNIE New York

WINNIE New York showcases this design prowess, while celebrating his many cultural and artistic influences. The brand, which launched in 2018, reliably features impeccable tailoring and provocative proportions. Jackets and tops fit dynamically, but also pair easily with other pieces, while trousers feature understated finesses, like intriguing pleating and unique hem heights. They vacillate from subtle neutrals to effective pops of color.

They also stylishly steward the many elements that mold Balogun's point of view, from music and contemporary art to environmental conservation and the Black diaspora. As a child of Nigerian immigrants who spent his youth between Africa, New York, and the UK, the designer says his family heavily informs his creative decisions for the brand, which is named after his late grandmother, Princess Winifred Dademu. He also credits his heritage and upbringing for shaping his understanding of fashion and sustainability. "I think it's just so resourceful to think about different ways to utilize what you have to not only create a beautiful garment, but also save the planet," he explains. "My heritage definitely plays a huge, huge part in what I do. I've touched on it in every single collection."

Balogun's qualifications and studied sartorial eye appropriately earned him a spot in the finals for the LVMH Prize this year, in which he won the Karl Lagerfeld Prize along with ERL designer Eli Russell Linnetz. The accolade is usually awarded to only one designer, but was given to two this year, "due to the exceptional quality of the competition," according to award presenter and Olympian Eileen Gu. "It's crazy. It's a real honor to be awarded the Karl Lagerfeld Prize and mentioned in that same breath with his name, because he's always been a hero of mine," Balogun says.

The 2022 LVMH Prize: WINNIE New York

And while many would be caught up in the prize's prestige, as well as the platform it affords, he remains hyper focused on his work. "I'm not going to a party or to some function or whatever, I'm going back to the factory, because that's where my head's at," he says, recalling his plans following his win. "I think, honestly, if anything, it's a call to higher quality, a call to producing the best product possible. Because I don't want to do the man's name shame."

Fashion's micro and macro impact on the world is a constant motif within WINNIE New York. Whether Balogun is drafting patterns to produce as little fabric waste as possible or exploring the staples and silhouettes that defined historical cultural moments, he is always emphasizing the impact of his pieces.

For his Fall 2021 collection, he collaborated with the artist Tau Lewis, who creates her striking pieces using found and recycled materials. Her artistic process, as well as her ideas on connection and reuse, are emulated throughout the line. Pieces like a white double-breasted blazer, constructed from four different materials of varying textures, reflect the many patchwork-esque aspects of Lewis's hand-sewn pieces. The artist's use of leather also inspired Balogun to create a striking leather trench from repurposed rugs.

The 2022 LVMH Prize: WINNIE New York

For the brand's Spring 2022 collection, he used enticing shapes and clever construction to harken to 1960, known as the "Year of Africa" for the joy and promise felt across the continent after seventeen nations declared independence. The pieces also pull influence from seminal Black artists like Nina Simone and James Baldwin who made pilgrimages there.

An adamant sustainability advocate who works with natural fibers and existing materials, Balogun is looking forward to further exploring mindfully-sourced materials with the help of Nona Source, LVMH's online resale platform for deadstock fabrics. He will also continue to channel his creative influences while showcasing the thoughtful constructions for which he is known. "[I'm anticipating] a bit more hard tailoring," he says. "Right now we've been doing sort of soft tailoring, which, I mean, is lovely tailoring regardless, but I would really love to bring my Savile Row roots into the fold a little bit more."

For more information, please visit See the full 2022 LVMH Prize portfolio here. Read this story and many more in print by ordering our fifth issue here.

As a nonprofit arts and culture publication dedicated to educating, inspiring, and uplifting creatives, Cero Magazine depends on your donations to create stories like these. Please support our work here.

The 2022 LVMH Prize: WINNIE New York
Model: Aouatif Saadi at Select Model Management. Hair by Fanta Kadiakhe. Makeup by Zahra Benghida. Nails by Melvyn Renaud. Photographer's assistant: Philip Skoczkowski. Stylist's assistant: Alisa Nikolen. Casting by Otis Giovanni at Ego Casting. Production by Billel Bensalem and Clement Moisan at Montique & Co.

As a nonprofit arts and culture publication dedicated to educating, inspiring, and uplifting creatives, Cero Magazine depends on your donations to create stories like these. Please support our work here.