Black Designers Matter: Christopher John Rogers, Telfar Clemens and Kerby Jean-Raymond Win 2020 CFDA Fashion Awards

Christopher John Rogers attends the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund 2019 Awards on November 04, 2019; Telfar Clemens poses backstage for Telfar during New York Fashion Week on February 9, 2018; Kerby Jean-Raymond attends 2020 Roc Nation THE BRUNCH on January 25, 2020.
Christopher John Rogers attends the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund 2019 Awards on November 04, 2019; Telfar Clemens poses backstage for Telfar during New York Fashion Week on February 9, 2018; Kerby Jean-Raymond attends 2020 Roc Nation THE BRUNCH on January 25, 2020.
Photo: Jamie McCarthy (Getty Images), Astrid Stawiarz (Getty Images), David Livingston (Getty Images)

This season’s trending colors? Red, black and green—or, at least they are this New York Fashion Week, which kicked off on Sunday with Pose star Indya Moore making their runway debut as the opener for Jason Wu’s presentation (h/t Harper’s Bazaar)—followed by Harlem’s Fashion Row’s 13th annual gala and runway presentation, both of which were among the 60-plus designers who will present their Spring 2021 collections this week on the CFDA’s new digital platform, Runway360.

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On Monday, the CFDA made a presentation of its own; announcing the winners of its annual Fashion Awards, which were originally scheduled to take place on Monday, June 8 but were postponed by the pandemic. And in a year that has brought long-overdue attention to the issue of the continued marginalization of Black talent in the fashion industry, it is perhaps not wholly surprising but nonetheless exciting to learn that three of this year’s six awardees are Black. As the CFDA explained via a press release sent to The Glow Up, this is the first CFDA Fashion Award for each designer in the four American categories—and notably, this year’s winners represent the most diverse group of recipients in the 39-year history of the awards.

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In fact, it’s the first time in six years that a Black designer has won a CFDA Fashion Award, the last being Maxwell Osborne, who, along with partner Dao-Yi Chow, brought home American Menswear Designer of the Year for their work with Public School NYC. This year, the award went to Kerby Jean-Raymond, for Pyer Moss, while Telfar Clemens’ eponymous Telfar line earned him American Accessories Designer of the Year. Both were 2019 nominees in their respective categories.

Jean-Raymond treated Instagram followers to a brief video of him unboxing his award, while Clemens celebrated the win by reposting a video of a dancing friend/follower draped in his now-iconic logo bags, simply captioning the post “🔥🌍🖤 #cfdaawards.”

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But there was more to come: As 2020's Emerging Designer of the Year, Christopher John Rogers fulfilled the promise of his 2019 Vogue/CFDA Fashion Fund win last fall. Coincidentally, the award was previously won by Clemens and Jean-Raymond in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

In gracious acceptance of the award, Rogers wrote his post:

The past year and a half has been nothing short of a rollercoaster, and I wouldn’t have been able to get to this point of the ride without my NYC family and friends. Thank you for being patient with me, seeing me, keeping me grounded, and always inspiring me to do my best and encourage my vision. The people who I’m lucky enough to surround myself with come from differing backgrounds, walks of life, express themselves in myriads of ways, and allow me to see the world with increased fullness and visualize the work that we do through an eclectic set of perspectives. My friends and family encourage me to manifest my singular American Dream, and I feel that it’s increasingly important to emphasize that specificity and clarity of vision, especially today. I’m incredibly humbled and honored to receive the CFDA Emerging Designer of the Year Award for 2020. Thank you very much to Chairman @tomford and all of the hardworking folks at the @CFDA for your tremendous encouragement and continued support. Thank ya’ll for getting it.

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Nominees and winners were determined by the CFDA Awards Guild, comprised of CFDA members, leading fashion journalists, stylists and top retail executives. The full list of winners is as follows:

American Womenswear Designer of the Year: Gabriela Hearst

American Menswear Designer of the Year: Kerby Jean-Raymond for Pyer Moss

American Accessories Designer of the Year: Telfar Clemens for Telfar

American Emerging Designer of the Year: Christopher John Rogers

International Women’s Designer of the Year: Pierpaolo Piccioli for Valentino

International Men’s Designer of the Year: Kim Jones for Dior

As the CFDA’s largest fundraiser for scholarships, the organization also announced the recipients of its 2020 CFDA Scholar Awards on Monday, awarding seven $25,000 scholarships. Designer and Chairman of the CFDA, Tom Ford, announced the CFDA Fashion Award winners via video on Monday; the announcement can be watched in full below.

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up, an avid eyeshadow enthusiast and always her own muse. Minneapolis born, Chicago bred, New York built. Nuance is her superpower.

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