Get To Know Christopher John Rogers, Winner Of The 2019 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund
Young and fabulous, the American fashion designer is making waves for his signature aesthetic of unapologetically bright colors, scene-stealing glitz, and silhouettes that mimic wearable art
There's a new name in the global fashion industry that you better get to know lest you become (un)fashionably late to his party: Christopher John Rogers.
At just 25 years old, the young visionary has been crowned 2019's winner of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CDFA)/Vogue Fashion Fund award, effectively making him the newest darling of the industry oozing with admiration for him.
It's only been a couple of years since he graduated from The Savannah College of Art and Design, yet he has already staged three runway shows at New York Fashion Week, received a standing ovation at his most recent one, and the likes of Lizzo, Cardi B, Rihanna, Tracee Ellis Ross, Jameela Jamil, Ashley Graham, Greta Lee, Karlie Kloss and—wait for it—former first lady Michelle Obama have all been decked out in the Rogers aesthetic.
Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and now stationed in Brooklyn, New York, Christopher has dove head first into fashion, notably going against current American fashion trends anchored on minimalism and making sure that everyone would recognize a Rogers piece when they see one from a mile away.
While he does concentrate on creating evening wear, you won't find little black dresses and Sunday's best type ensembles in his collections. Instead, what dominates are looks that include shocking pink pants bedazzled with Swarovski crystals, glistening power suits done in mermaid-y cyan, ruffly metallics, prints on patterns, puffy multi-colored fur sleeves sewn onto a fine sheer tulle bodice—you get the point.
His clothes are certainly not for the faint-hearted, but his unique way of molding the borderline outlandish into wearable works of art has truly made him deserving of the accolade.
After all, he does take inspiration from anywhere from clowns on holiday and beautiful furniture, to photography from traditional African garb; anything goes in his world, but when you have a talent like his, making sense of and turning all these seemingly unrelated elements into a coherent whole is a piece of cake.
Christopher bested two other candidates at the awards ceremony, namely cool girl bridal wear designer Danielle Hirsch of Danielle Frankel (she created Zoe Kravitz's fishnet wedding dress) and Reese Cooper, master of urban streetwear.
In case you didn't already know, Christopher's top honors at the prestigious event aren't only symbolic of his rising stardom; they came with a $400,000 cash prize and a one-year mentorship with a member of the CDFA, a coveted experience meant to teach up-and-coming designers the ins and outs of the business of fashion while continuing to sharpen their creative gifts.
In his acceptance speech, Christopher made the time to thank everyone who played a critical role in his rise to the top including his parents who he said gave up a lot in order for him to pursue his dreams, his staff for working tirelessly to bring his visions to life, as well as everyone from Vogue and the CDFA who deemed him worthy of this recognition that will propel him to the next level of his career.
Those on the judging panel that ultimately decided on this year's victor were Anna Wintour, Steven Kolb, Joseph Altuzarra, Chioma Nnadi, Mark Holgate, Eva Chen, Andrew Rosen, Jeffrey Kalinsky, Roopal Patel, Diane von Furstenberg, and Elsesser.
The Council of Fashion Designers America, Inc. (CFDA) is a not-for-profit trade association that was founded in 1962 by publicist Eleanor Lambert. Its membership consists of more than 500 of America’s foremost womenswear, menswear, jewelry and accessory designers. The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund aims to fund designers and provide them business mentorship. Notable past winners include Haitian-American fashion designer Kerby Jean-Raymond whose menswear label is Pyer Moss; British-born, US-based footwear and accessory designer Paul Andrew; and Gypsy Sport designer Rio Uribe.
Photos from @christopherjohnrogers