A Seat at the Table: The CFDA Admits Venus Williams and Christopher Bevans

(l-r) Venus Williams attends Prada Mode Miami Night 3 on December 6, 2018 in Miami, Fl.; Christopher Bevans attends the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund 15th Anniversary Event on November 5, 2018 in Brooklyn, New York.
Photo: Astrid Stawiarz (Getty Images for Prada), Roy Rochlin (Getty Images)

The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) only admits new members once each year, but two of their newest members are black—and one is a very recognizable face.

At their biannual meeting on December 4, the esteemed organization, which recently awarded Kerby Jean-Raymond top honors in its annual CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award competition, confirmed 14 new designers as members, including Dyne’s Christopher Bevans and tennis phenom-turned-fashion designer, Venus Williams, who made the cut for her activewear line, EleVen by Venus.


The two join Zaid Affas; Jason and Julie Alkire of Haus Alkire; Mike Amiri of Amiri; Pamela Bell of Prinkshop; Sander Lak of Sies Marjan; Lindy McDonough of Lotuff; Ji Oh; Alexander Olch; Marysia Dobrzanska Reeves of Marysia; Ahlem Manai-Platt of Ahlem Eyewear; and Alejandra Alonso Rojas.

The total number of members is now 493. While no exact number has been given on how many of those members are black, the organization has seemingly been making strides to recognize and include more designers of color, with mixed results. For instance, the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund awards committee caught considerable flak for not including one black judge among its ranks, yet that same board awarded the prize to a black designer this year. Similarly, the CFDA website regularly features black talent amongst its wealth of designers.

Yet and still, there is always room for growth, and we’re pleased to see more designers of color get a seat at the coveted table.


“On behalf of the Admissions Committee, the Board of Directors and our Members, the CFDA is very proud to welcome this group of exceptionally talented designers to the organization,” said Lisa Smilor, Executive Vice President of the CFDA. “We look forward to their input and active participation within the Council.”

So do we.

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Maiysha Kai

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. Minneapolis born, Chicago bred, New York built. Nuance is her superpower.