For Her Historic Inauguration Event Wardrobe, Kamala Harris Has Chosen African American Designers

U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and husband Doug Emhoff arrive to the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden at the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. During today’s inauguration ceremony Joe Biden becomes the 46th president of the United States.
U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and husband Doug Emhoff arrive to the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden at the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. During today’s inauguration ceremony Joe Biden becomes the 46th president of the United States.
Photo: Rob Carr (Getty Images)

When Kamala Devi Harris is sworn in as the first female, Black and South Asian vice president on Wednesday morning, she will do so on a Bible owned by late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, under the undoubtedly smiling eyes of the first Latina on the Supreme Court, Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Harris will also bring two Black designers along to the historic occasion; according to multiple sources (including a Harris aide), the vice president-elect has chosen for her inaugural attire Baton Rouge, La., native and 2020 CFDA Emerging Designer of the Year Christopher John Rogers (reportedly the designer of Harris’ ultraviolet dress and coat ensemble) and South Carolina native Sergio Hudson (also a favorite of Michelle Obama and Beyoncé).

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The dynamic and regal look continues a trend set by Harris at Tuesday night’s tribute to those lost to the coronavirus pandemic. For the occasion, she donned a camel pleated coat by Pyer Moss, designed by Brooklyn-based designer and COVID-19 activist and humanitarian Kerby Jean-Raymond.

While the fashion is perhaps the least significant of today’s events, the significance of Harris’ sartorial choices were not lost on those watching today. The elevation of these designers as worthy of dressing Harris as she ascends to the second-highest seat in the country is a statement to not only fashion lovers but the industry at large, long known for sidelining Black talent.

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It is also worth noting that many congresswomen are wearing pearls today in solidarity with Harris, including Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), who is wearing former representative and presidential candidate Shirley Chisholm’s pearls in tribute to both Harris’ achievement and Chisholm’s indelible impact. Harris’ proclivity for pearls is, of course, a nod to her historically Black sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha.

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And then, there was Michelle Obama. Our favorite first lady would no doubt never intentionally upstage the vice president-elect or incoming first lady, Dr. Jill Biden (clad in an aqua coat and dress by independent designer Alexandra O’Neill). Nevertheless, Mrs. Obama immediately became the number-one stunner of the day, donning claret-colored trousers, turtleneck and topcoat with a matching, brass-buckled belt, all reportedly also by Sergio Hudson. It was a moment. A mood. A national glow-up as interpreted by a national treasure, if you will.

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Following Harris’s swearing-in, we’ll be excited to see if she continues the theme of Black designers through the evening’s inauguration festivities. Nevertheless, we’re thrilled the new vice president is beginning her tenure in office by making Black creativity part of her historic moment—and giving our designers a moment, too.

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up, co-host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door...May I borrow some sugar?

DISCUSSION

thatsjustmyhair
thatsjustmyhair

Michelle Obama’s outfit left me speechless. Ok so maybe I stood up and shouted “God damn!” at the TV, but LOOK AT THAT ENSEMBLE! Freaking gorgeous.