The last time inRegister’s pages included the name Christopher John Rogers, the Baton Rouge-bred designer was just beginning an upward trajectory in the fashion world. But now, only four years later, he’s riding high as the latest winner of the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s prestigious American Emerging Designer of the Year award.
At the time of our 2016 profile on Rogers, he was working as a knitwear designer for fashion mogul Diane von Furstenberg, living in Brooklyn and building a reputation for loud, luxurious designs with a hint of old-world elegance. His eponymous debut collection was only a year old, inspired by the teenage creativity he often saw amongst the styles of his own friends at Baton Rouge Magnet High School, from which he graduated in 2012. Even in those days in Mid City, he was laying the groundwork for success as a creative and as a businessperson, showing designs in his high school fashion show and participating in New Orleans Fashion Week in 2011.
Among the first to notice Roger’s burgeoning star power was Ebony magazine, followed by the rapper Eve, who was photographed wearing one of his signature jackets. These days, he’s racked up clients like Cardi B, Gabrielle Union, Ashley Graham, and oh yeah, a certain former first lady by the name of Michelle Obama. Not to mention that Zendaya recently became the youngest Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama winner in Emmys history wearing Rogers’ violet-and-smoke design. But the accolades don’t end there. Last month, during the first-ever virtual New York Fashion Week, Rogers became the 2020 recipient of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA)’s American Emerging Designer of the Year Award.
Having won the council’s CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund in 2019, the new acknowledgement rings as a sound endorsement from the world of high fashion, with past winners bearing superstar names like Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford. Plus, in even more encouraging news for an industry—like so many others—contending with structural prejudices in 2020, Rogers was one of three Black designers taking home the gold in their respective categories.
With what will surely be a whirlwind of accomplishments to come, let’s just say that we’ll be keeping an extra close eye on Rogers … and any other Baton Rouge youngsters with a penchant for exquisite tailoring skills.