University of Fashion Blog

Posts Tagged: "Telfar Clemens"

CELEBRATING EXCELLENCE: THE INTERSECTION OF BLACK HISTORY, ART & FASHION

Black History Month Image. (Photo Credit: Break The Tape Leadership)

As we continue to celebrate Black History Month, we are reminded of the mark that African Americans have left on the arts. Within this kaleidoscope of expression, the realm of fashion emerges as a vibrant canvas where Black visionaries have sculpted history, broke barriers, and have redefined norms. Join UOF as we delve into the world of African American creativity, as we explore the narratives, styles, and some of the individuals who are shaping the fashion industry today.

At the nexus of cultural expression and sartorial innovation, Black designers stand tall, their creations echoing the richness of their heritage while pushing the boundaries of contemporary fashion. Names like Telfar Clemens, Duro Olou, LaQuan Smith, and Christopher John Rogers resonate with a new generation of fashion enthusiasts, infusing their collections with narratives that transcend mere garments, weaving stories of resilience, empowerment, and identity. Join us as we explore these influential persons of color, who are leaving an indelible mark on the fashion landscape.

TELFAR CLEMENS

Telfar Shopping Bag. (Photo Credit: Telfar)

A pioneer of inclusivity and accessibility, Telfar Clemens has revolutionized luxury fashion with his unisex designs and iconic Telfar Shopping Bag, also called the “Bushwick Birkin,” the brand’s best-selling item. His eponymous label, Telfar, stands as a testament to his commitment to democratizing style and celebrating individuality.

AURORA JAMES

Aurora James and her Brother Vellies Shoes. (Photo Credit: Dre Bless)

Founder of the 15 Percent Pledge, Aurora James has emerged as a leading voice for diversity and representation within the fashion industry. Through her advocacy and her brand, Brother Vellies, James champions BIPOC designers and artisans, amplifying their voices and ensuring their inclusion on the global stage.

OLIVIER ROUSTEING

Cher with Olivier Rousteing Closes Balmain Spring 2023 Runway Show in Custom Jumpsuit. (Photo Credit: WWD)

As the creative director of Balmain, Olivier Rousteing has redefined luxury with his opulent designs and boundary-pushing aesthetic. With a focus on diversity and empowerment, Rousteing has transformed Balmain into a symbol of inclusivity and modernity.

DURO OLOWU

A look from Duro Oolowu’s Spring 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Renowned for his eclectic prints and masterful use of color, Duro Olowu celebrates the beauty of diversity in every stitch. His eponymous label reflects his global perspective and unwavering commitment to craftsmanship, earning him accolades from fashion insiders and enthusiasts alike. Oh, and did you know he is married to Thelma Golden, the director and chief curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem, the world’s leading institution devoted to visual arts by artists of African descent.

KENNETH IZE

A look from Kenneth Ize’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Drawing inspiration from his Nigerian heritage, Kenneth Ize infuses traditional textiles with a contemporary twist, creating vibrant and dynamic collections that celebrate African culture. His innovative designs have garnered international acclaim, positioning him as a rising star in the fashion world.

CHRISTOPHER JOHN ROGERS

A look from Christopher John Rogers’ Pre-Fall 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

With his bold use of color and theatrical silhouettes, Christopher John Rogers captivates audiences with his unapologetic celebration of joy and self-expression. His eponymous label reflects his belief in the transformative power of fashion, empowering individuals to embrace their true selves.

LAQUAN SMITH

A look from LaQuan Smith’s Fall 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

From dressing global icons to redefining notions of sensuality and empowerment, LaQuan Smith is a force to be reckoned with in the world of fashion. His eponymous label exudes confidence and sophistication, embodying the essence of modern glamour.

VICTOR GLEMAUD

Designer Victor Glemaud walks the runway with a model from his Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Championing knitwear as a canvas for self-expression, Victor Glemaud creates luxurious and versatile pieces that blur the lines between fashion and art. His inclusive approach to design celebrates diversity and individuality, inspiring a new generation of knitwear enthusiasts.

THEBE MAGUGU

A look from Thebe Magugu’s Spring 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Hailing from South Africa, Thebe Magugu infuses his designs with storytelling and symbolism, exploring themes of heritage, identity, and empowerment. His eponymous label reflects his commitment to social commentary and cultural preservation, earning him acclaim from critics and consumers alike.

TORISHEJU DUMI

Naomi Campbell walking the runway for Torishéju Dumi’s spring 2024 collection in Paris. (Photo Credit: Torishéju Dumi)

With her avant-garde designs and sculptural silhouettes, Torisheju Dumi pushes the boundaries of fashion, creating wearable works of art that defy convention. Her visionary approach to design reflects her belief in the power of fashion to inspire and transform.

A SHOUT OUT TO THE QUEEN BEAUTY MOGUL

Widely regarded as one of the most influential makeup artists of all time, Pat McGrath has revolutionized the beauty industry with her visionary artistry and boundary-pushing creativity, she is also deemed the most influential makeup artist in the world by Vogue magazine. As the founder of Pat McGrath Labs, she has created a cosmetics empire that celebrates diversity and empowers individuals to express themselves through makeup.

Social media has been a hotbed of speculation about how Pat McGath created the waxen shiny skin on models for the Maison Margiela couture show. (Photo Credit: Pat McGrath Labs)

In the world of haute couture, innovation and artistry reign supreme. Pat McGrath’s collaboration with Maison Margiela for their Spring-Summer 2024 show exemplified the pinnacle of creativity. With her masterful use of color, texture, and technique, McGrath transformed the faces of the models into living works of art, each one a testament to the beauty of individuality and self-expression. “The legendary creative transformed models into living dolls, complete with porcelain skin, pencil-thin eyebrows and strikingly shaded eyes, lips and cheeks. But it was the waxen, glazed complexions she created that really stole the show, spawning countless pieces of magazine analysis and TikTok tutorials, some of which have already amassed millions of views”, according to CNN.

As we celebrate Black History Month, let us honor the contributions of these trailblazing designers and visionaries who continue to shape the future of fashion. Their creativity, innovation, and unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusion serve as a beacon of hope and inspiration for generations to come, reminding us of the transformative power of art and the enduring legacy of African American excellence.

In the words of Maya Angelou, “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” Let us celebrate the metamorphosis of Black creativity, embracing the myriad hues of expression that adorn our world, enriching it with depth, vibrancy, and soul.

So, tell us, how are you supporting the 15% Pledge?

BLACK HISTORY MONTH: CELEBRATING BLACK DESIGNERS THROUGH THE YEARS

A dress by Patrick Kelly Fall 1986 Collection. (Photo Credit: The Museum at FIT)

This week’s blog is dedicated to the vast contributions of Africa, Africans and people of African descent to world civilization and in celebration of Black History Month. Many of our UoF readers know how much we love history, so before we honor some of the Black fashion designers that helped shape our industry, we’d like to take a look back at how Black History Month became a global celebration.

The first recorded celebration of Black history in the United States dates back to February 1926, when historian Carter G. Woodson founded “Negro History Week,” to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, two important figures in Black American history. The week was later expanded to a month-long celebration and was officially recognized as Black History Month by President Gerald Ford during the celebration of the U.S. Bicentennial in 1976, to bring attention to the contributions of Black Americans and to promote a greater understanding of Black history and culture.

Canada also celebrates Black History Month in February (since 1995) and Belgium celebrates in March (since 2017). In Europe, October is Black History Month and has been celebrated in  the U.K. (1987), Germany (1990), Ireland (2010), Netherlands (2010), France (2018) and in Africa (2020).

Black History Month in the U.S. is observed with a theme chosen by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). The theme is meant to highlight a specific aspect of Black history, such as the Civil Rights Movement, the contributions of Black women, or the role of Black Americans in the arts. Throughout the month there are a variety of events and activities held to celebrate Black history, including parades, cultural festivals, and lectures. The theme for 2023 is “Black Resistance,” and explores how African-Americans have resisted historic and ongoing oppression, in all forms, especially the racial terrorism of lynching, racial pogroms and police killings, since the nation’s earliest days. As recently as Jan. 7, 2023, Tyre Nichols, a young black man in Memphis was brutally beaten and killed during  a traffic stop by five Black police officers.

In 2020, the killing of George Floyd led to the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement. This movement led to subsequent protests and forced many fashion brands and designers to re-examine their practices and their commitment to promoting diversity and inclusivity within the industry. The Black Lives Matter movement has had a significant impact on the fashion industry and so has the pandemic. In fact, according to a recent article in Axios:

The last couple of years have ushered in a Black entrepreneurship boom. 

  • In 2021, Black-owned businesses were started at the fastest clip in 26 years, The Washington Post reports.
  • The number of Black business owners was 28% higher in the third quarter of 2021 than it was pre-pandemic, per U.S. News and World Report.
  • Other groups are starting more businesses, too. The number of white business owners was 5% higher in 2021’s third quarter than pre-pandemic, and the number of Latino entrepreneurs was 19% higher. But the biggest change is in Black communities.”

What’s happening: Many Black entrepreneurs across the country used federal stimulus checks to start businesses.

  • The top sector where Black owners are creating businesses is health care, Andre Perry of the Brookings Institution tells NPR. Many of the startups are in home health care, contact tracing, or vaccine distribution.

Reality check: Although many Black entrepreneurs are starting businesses, most of these startups are micro-businesses, where the owner is also the sole employee, Perry tells Axios.

  • Black people represent 14% of the U.S. population, but just 2% of owners of employer firms, which are businesses that employ people, he says.
  • “Wealth is the major driver,” Perry says. Employer firms are bigger and require more capital than many Black small business owners have access to due to racial disparities in who gets loans.

But the effect of the stimulus investment in Black communities can be a lesson, he notes. We shouldn’t just say we need to invest in people during a pandemic.”

We’d like to give a shout-out to the CFDA who, in 2020, for the first time in their 60-year history, recognized three Black designers with top awards: Kerby Jean-Raymond for Pyer Moss, Telfar Clemens and  Christopher John Rogers.

BLACK LIVES MATTER’S IMPACT ON THE FASHION INDUSTRY

A few Black supermodels who changed the fashion game. (Photo Credit: Getty Images, Collage Hello Beautiful)

One of the most visible impacts of the Black Lives Matter movement has been the increased representation of Black models on the runway and in fashion campaigns. The movement has also focused on the lack of diversity with regard to designers, photographers and stylists. In response, many fashion brands and organizations have made commitments to promoting greater diversity and inclusivity in their hiring practices.

André Leon Talley (1949-2022), editor-at-large for Vogue magazine, speaking to a reporter at the opening of the 2016  “Black Fashion Designers” exhibit at the Fashion Institute of Technology.  (Photo Credit: AP Photo)

Edward Enniful editor-in-chief of British Vogue and European editorial director of Condé Nast (Image Credit: The New York Times)

Kerry Washington and CFDA Stylist Award winner Law Roach. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement, there has been an increased focus on supporting Black-owned businesses, including fashion brands and designers. View our lesson by designer Parron Allen and read all about his success story on our blog.

Black-owned brands and designers to know such as, The Brooklyn Circus, Abasi Rosborough, ALLCAPSTUDIO, Albert 1941, Armando Cabral, Blackstock & Weber, Bricks & Wood, Brownstone, Darryl Brown, Denim Tears, Fear of God, G + Co. Apparel, Glenn’s Denim, Golf Wang, Martine Rose, Mifland, Nicholas Daley, Post-Imperial, Public School NYC, Ship John, Southern Gents, Studio 189, Third Crown, Union, and Wales Bonner. (Photo Credit: Gear Patrol)

The movement has also brought attention to the issue of cultural appropriation in the fashion industry. Many designers have been criticized for using elements of Black culture in their designs without giving proper credit or compensation, such as African textiles and handicrafts. In response, many designers have made a commitment to using cultural elements in a more respectful and culturally appropriate way.

In addition, the Black Lives Matter movement has been significant in promoting social justice. Many fashion brands and designers have used their platforms to raise awareness about social justice issues and to promote activism and advocacy. In addition, many brands have made donations to organizations that support Black communities and designers have created collections inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. UoF has been a supporter of Custom Collaborative and Black Fashion World, offering free access to our lesson library to assist their budding Black designers.

While there is still much work to be done, the Black Lives Matter movement has inspired many in the industry to make positive change and promote greater representation for the Black community.

Michelle Obama often supports young Black designers. At President Joe Biden’s inauguration she wore Sergio Hudson. (Photo Credit: The Cut)

BLACK DESIGNERS WHO’VE MADE A MARK ON THE FASHION INDUSTRY

Beginning with Zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes, considered the first African American fashion and costume designer, as well as the first Black designer to open her own New York City shop in 1948, Black designers have played a significant role in shaping the fashion industry. From creating new styles and techniques, to challenging existing norms and pushing the boundaries of what is considered fashionable, Black designers have made a lasting impact on the world of fashion. Here are a few of our favorites, but of course there are many more.

PATRICK KELLY

Patrick Kelly surrounded by models in his looks. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Patrick Kelly (1954-1990) was the first Black designer to be admitted to the Chambre Syndicale du Prêt-à-Porter in Paris. Kelly was known for his bold use of color, print, and texture in his designs and for his innovative use of buttons as a decorative element, a technique that is still widely used today.

STEPHEN BURROWS

Stephen Burrows’ collection for Henri Bendel in Central Park in 1970.Credit. (Photo Credit: Charles Tracy)

Stephen Burrows was the first Black designer to receive international recognition for his work. He is known as the originator of color-blocking, the Lettuce Edge, rainbow jersey dresses and was included in the Battle of Versailles 1973 (when five French designers were pitted against against five Americans). Burrows was the first Black designer to win a Coty Award. He dressed Michele Obama in a matte jersey pantsuit in 2009 and, in 2014, created his third Barbie®doll, Nisha. Burrows received the André Leon Talley Lifetime Achievement Award at an exhibition of his work entitled An American Master of Invention at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).  

DAPPER DAN

Gucci and Dapper Dan’s Collaboration in 2018. (Photo Credit: Gucci X Dapper Dan)

Dapper Dan was a legendary streetwear designer from Harlem, known for his bold and irreverent designs that fused high fashion with streetwear. He was a pioneer of the “Hip Hop Fashion” movement and continues to inspire designers today.

WILLI SMITH

Willi Smith surrounded by models in his fall 1972 Collection. (Photo Credit: Willi Smith Archives)

Willi Smith was a fashion designer who rose to prominence in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He was best known for his colorful and whimsical sportswear designs, which blended elements of streetwear and high fashion. Smith was one of the first African-American designers to achieve mainstream success and his eponymous fashion label, WilliWear, became popular among both celebrities and everyday consumers. Unfortunately, Smith passed away in 1987 at the age of 39.

BYRON LARS

For famed designer Byron Lars, the Spring 2012 collection was about giving up control! (Photo Credit: Essence)

Byron Lars is an American fashion designer and the creative force behind the Byron Lars Beauty Mark label. He is known for his timeless and sophisticated designs that celebrate the feminine form and his collections often feature structured silhouettes, bold prints, and rich fabrics. Throughout his career, Lars received numerous accolades for his work, including the CFDA Perry Ellis Award for New Talent in 1992 and the DHL Award for Fashion Excellence in 1998. He continues to be an influential figure in the fashion industry and his collections are sold in high-end department stores and boutiques around the world.

VIRGIL ABLOH

In 2017, Virgil Abloh won the British Fashion Award for Urban Luxe Brand for his label Off-White. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Virgil Abloh was a Ghanaian-American designer, artist, and DJ. He was best known for his work as the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear collection, as well as for his collaborations with brands such as Nike, IKEA, and Rimowa. Abloh was also the founder and CEO of his own streetwear label, Off-White, which became one of the most influential brands in the industry. He is recognized for his unique creative vision and ability to bridge the gap between streetwear and high fashion. Sadly, the designer passed away on Nov. 28, 2021, of cancer. He was only 41 years old.

OZWALD BOATENG

Ozwald Boateng celebrates Black excellence during London Fall 2022 Fashion Week. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Ozwald Boateng is a British fashion designer who has been at the forefront of promoting Black designers in the fashion industry. He was the first Black designer to open a flagship store on London’s prestigious Savile Row.

TRACY REESE

Tracy Reese returned to her hometown of Detroit to reimagine her approach to making clothes. (Photo Credit: The New York Times)

In business since 1998, Tracy Reese is a prominent American fashion designer who has been praised for her use of color and for her partnerships with Barney’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Anthropologie. Throughout her 25 years in the industry, Reese has consistently promoted diversity and inclusivity and is a vocal advocate for greater representation of Black designers.

AURORA JAMES

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, wearing a white custom Brother Vellies gown with the words “tax the rich” at the Met Gala with designer Aurora James. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Aurora James is a Canadian-born designer and founder of the slow-fashion brand Brother Vellies. She is known for her commitment to ethical and sustainable fashion and for her use of traditional African techniques in her designs. In 2020, in response to George Floyd’s murder, James initiated a public challenge to retailers to make good on their solidarity promise by dedicating 15 percent of their shelf space — roughly the percentage of the population that is Black in the U.S. — to Black-owned businesses. The 15 Percent Pledge resulted in 400 Black-owned brands added to the inventory of retailers in the U.S.

LAQUAN SMITH

LaQuan Smith and a model in one of his recent designs. (Photo Credit: Grazia Magazine)

LaQuan Smith is a rising star in the fashion industry and known for his daring and provocative designs. He has been praised for his innovative use of materials and his commitment to promoting inclusivity in the fashion world.

FE NOEL

Designer Fe Noel with a few of her designs. (Photo Credit: WhoWhatWear)

Fe Noel is a Brooklyn-based, Grenada-bred designer who has been praised for her use of vibrant colors and has been a vocal advocate for certain causes. For her Spring 2023, in a partnership with financial services organization TIAA, she focused on retirement inequality by creating a corset-bodice gown tiered with $1.6 million in (faux, but entirely real-looking) dollar bills – the amount of potential savings lost for women, per a 30 percent retirement income gap.

OLIVER ROUSTEING

Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing is a celebrity favorite. Here he is flanked by Kim Kardashian and Kendall Jenner. (Photo Credit: AP Images)

Oliver Rousteing is a French fashion designer and creative director of heritage brand Balmain. In 2011, he was appointed creative director, making him one of the youngest creative directors in the fashion industry, as well as one of the first Black designers to run a French luxury house. Rousteing is known for his bold, sexy and daring designs that feature a mix of luxurious fabrics, embellishments, and prints. Rousteing has been praised for his ability to merge contemporary and classical elements, creating collections that are both modern and timeless. He has also been recognized for his commitment to promoting diversity and inclusivity in the fashion industry, and for casting a diverse range of models in his fashion shows and campaigns.

TELFAR CLEMENS

Telfar Clemens at home surrounded by his signature handbags, wearing a Telfar track jacket and pants and his own Ugg slippers. (Photo Credit: Harpers Bazaar)

Telfar Clemens is the creative director and the founder of the Telfar Global fashion brand. Born in Liberia and raised in the United States, Clemens began his career in fashion in 2005 and has since become one of the most influential and innovative designers of his generation. Clemens is best known for his unisex and gender-neutral designs that challenge traditional fashion norms and celebrate individuality and diversity. He is also known for his “Bushwick Birkin” bag, which has become a cult favorite among fashion insiders and has been seen on many high-profile celebrities and influencers.

KERBY JEAN-RAYMOND

Kerby Jean-Raymond made history with Pyer Moss Couture Debut during the Fall 2021 Couture shows. (Photo Credit: WWD)

Pyer Moss is a New York-based fashion brand founded in 2013 by designer Kerby Jean-Raymond. The brand is known for its socially-conscious collections that address issues of race, politics, and culture. Jean-Raymond has received recognition for his innovative designs and thought-provoking presentations.

CHRISTOPHER JOHN ROGERS

Chistopher John Rogers (center) was the 2019 winner of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. (Photo Credit: CFDA)

Christopher John Rogers is a fashion designer based in New York City and is known for his use of bright colors and bold silhouettes.  The young designer gained recognition for his contributions to the industry through awards such as the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award and the Pratt Fashion Visionary Award. His work has been featured in prominent publications such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and The New York Times.

As the world continues to debate critical race theory (CRT) and the events of the last decade, which have increased public awareness about things like housing segregation, criminal justice policies and the legacy of enslavement on Black Americans, Canadians and Europeans, the fashion industry continues to do its part by becoming a more diverse institution.

Do you think the fashion industry is doing enough to support Black fashion labels? Let us know on our social media channels Instagram and Facebook

CFDA FASHION AWARDS: FASHION’S OTHER BIG NIGHT

- - Fashion Events

Designer/Stylist Law Roach and Zendaya in Vera Wang, winner of the Fashion Icon Award. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Fashion’s second biggest fashion event (the MET Gala being the first) happened on Wednesday November 10th, the CFDA Awards. Some of the biggest names in fashion attended an in-person extravaganza for industry insiders at the Pool + the Grill, located in the Seagram Building on Park Avenue in Manhattan. The mezzanine, in the back of The Grill, proved the perfect perch from which to ogle the guests. The energy of the night was filled with excitement and awe. All of fashion’s heavy hitters were in attendance, as well as some very well-dressed celebrities.

CFDA Chairman and designer Tom Ford and Dapper Dan, winner of the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award . (Photo Credit: Vogue)

“I’m so happy to be back at a fashion gathering,” said Tom Ford to Vogue Magazine as he stepped away from cocktails for a moment to reflect on the evening. “I’ve been Chairman of the CFDA for almost three years and this is the first CFDA Awards I’ve been able to host. We wanted it to be much more intimate, but still very chic.”

Hostess Emily Blunt in Christopher John Rogers. (Photo Credit: Shutterstock)

The award ceremony, hosted by British actress Emily Blunt (of Devil Wears Prada fame), was held in front of a live audience and a troupe of celebrity presenters (last year’s ceremony was all digital due to the COVID-19 Pandemic). Some of the honorees were announced ahead of the awards ceremony, such as Zendaya winning the Fashion Icon Award, as well as Anya Taylor-Joy winning the first ever Face of the Year Award.

But, let’s face it, if it weren’t for their fashion stylists, would these gals have won these awards? Case in point, this year’s The Hollywood Reporter Top Stylist of the Year Award went to Law Roach (who also works with Anya Taylor-Joy, Kerry Washington, Tiffany Haddish, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Aldis Hodge, Tom Holland and Hunter Schafer). Read about the 12 stylists that you should be following on Instagram: https://www.crfashionbook.com/fashion/a36632100/12-stylists-you-should-be-following-on-instagram/

 

Anya Taylor-Joy in Oscar de la Renta and Gigi Burris hat. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Tom Ford’s mission for the 2021 CFDA Awards was to promote the talent that America has to offer. “I’m excited to show how American fashion has impacted the rest of the world, whether the rest of the world is ready to acknowledge that or not,” he said to Vogue Magazine. “That is my goal, to help the rest of the world understand how much they have taken and how much America has given to fashion globally.”

Demna Gvasalia, the creative director behind Balenciaga, and winner of the International Womenswear Designer of the Year Award couldn’t have agreed more with Ford. “American fashion has had the biggest impact it could have on someone like me. I was a Soviet kid who grew up in a country where people didn’t even know that fashion designer was a profession,” he said, holding his CFDA statuette. “The first time I discovered that you could be a fashion designer was when I discovered Tom Ford, when I was 10 or 11 years old. My dream of fashion actually began with discovering Tom Ford.”

Paloma Elsesser and Demna Gvasalia, winner of the International Womenswear Designer of the Year Award . (Photo Credit: Vogue)

“It’s not something I ever could have dreamt of to be here tonight and to have this kind of award,” Gvasalia continued. “I feel like I’ve been fighting for my place in fashion and to receive this award today, it’s like three years worth of therapy in some way. It’s the most amazing feeling, to feel heard, seen, and understood, and that’s what this award represents to me. It’s amazing. I don’t feel alone anymore.”

Feeling seen and accepted was a common theme throughout the night. Emerging Designer of the Year winner Edvin Thompson of Theophilio stated after his win, “It represents my community, Jamaica, and really carving out a space in the fashion industry to tell our stories.”

Sara Ziff, founder of The Model Alliance, and winner of the Positive Social Influence Award. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Sara Ziff, the founder of The Model Alliance, received the Positive Social Influence Award. The award gave the former model the opportunity to continue the discussion around models’ rights. “It’ll be a decade [since I started the Model Alliance] in February so it’s been quite a long road. Of course it’s nice to be recognized, but I wanted it to be meaningful and that’s why I used the opportunity to ask the industry to step up and do better,” she said of the decision to ask Carré Otis and Beverly Johnson to share their stories of abuse in the modeling industry before presenting Ziff with her CFDA trophy. “What keeps me going is I know that we’re on the right side of history,” Ziff stated.

Aurora James received the Founder’s Award in honor of Eleanor Lambert .(Photo Credit: Vogue)

Aurora James, the Creative Director and Founder of luxury accessories brand Brother Vellies, as well as the founder of the Fifteen Percent Pledge (James became an advocate for Black businesses). After receiving the Founders Award in Honor of Eleanor Lambert from Vogue’s Anna Wintour, James reflected on her award. “I am over the moon to receive this award; it means so much. The amount of emotional capital that I spent over the past 18 months working on the Fifteen Percent Pledge and that my whole organization spent relentlessly day in and day out fighting for economic equality—it just feels so incredible to be acknowledged in this way for all the hard work that we’ve done,” she said.

Iman and Zendaya, the winner of the Fashion Icon Award. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

The winner on the Fashion Icon Award, Zendaya, was nearly speechless after receiving her award from Iman, listing the model, Cher, Diana Ross, and her grandmothers among her own fashion icons. “I’m speechless,” Zendaya said with a stunned smile. “I just got an award and Iman gave it to me! I’m still not over that.”

Emily Bode Aujla is the winner of the Menswear Designer of the Year Award. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

The final two awards of the night went to Emily Bode Aujla who won for Menswear Designer of the Year and Christopher John Rogers for Womenswear Designer of the Year. “It’s so inspiring to see all of the change that all of the people in this room have created,” said Bode Aujla as she revealed that she will be opening a west coast store. “Something that I’ve bet on is retail. Our New York store is surpassing our online right now by 30%,” she added.

Womenswear Designer of the Year winner Christopher John Rogers. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Rogers is also focusing on the future of his brand, “The sky’s the limit. We’re really about intentionality at CJR and about moving with purpose. Whatever it is next will hopefully be as impactful and full as what we’re doing now.”

Below is a list of all the winners of the most fashionable awards show:

American Womenswear Designer of the Year: Christopher John Rogers for Christopher John Rogers.

American Menswear Designer of the Year: Emily Adams Bode for Bode.

American Accessories Designer of the Year: Telfar Clemens for Telfar.

American Emerging Designer of the Year: Edvin Thompson for Theophilio.

International Women’s Designer of the Year: Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga.

International Men’s Designer of the Year: Grace Wales Bonner for Wales Bonner.

Fashion Icon: Zendaya.

Face of the Year: Anya Taylor-Joy.

Positive Social Influence Award: Model Alliance.

Founder’s Award in honor of Eleanor Lambert: Aurora James for the 15 Percent Pledge.

Environmental Sustainability Award: Patagonia.

Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award: Dapper Dan.

Media Award in honor of Eugenia Sheppard: Nina Garcia.

Emily Ratajkowski and Nina Garcia, winner of the Media Award in honor of Eugenia Sheppard. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Board of Directors’ Tribute: Yeohlee Teng.

Yeohlee Teng winner of the Board of Directors’ Tribute. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

So tell us, do you agree with the CFDA’s choice winners? And do you think there should be a Best Stylist Award?

Young Designers Are Finally Taking Over New York Fashion Week

- - Fashion Shows

TOMMYXZENDAYA Fall 2019 block party at the Apollo Theater in Harlem (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

The excitement and thrill of New York fashion week has come to an end, and while all the names we know and love have put on fabulous shows and parties, such as Prabal Gurung’s chic 10th Anniversary showing, Tommy Hilfiger and Zendaya’s block-party show at the Apollo Theater in Harlem (see image above), and Tom Ford’s subway tunnel show, we are finally getting to see some new ‘fashion blood’ getting attention.

Unlike any other city in the world, New York has always been a melting pot of diverse cultures and ideas, so fittingly, the city that kicks off fashion month has embraced a handful of CFDA-approved emerging designers that are about to take off.

TELFAR 

Telfar Clemens, right, at Telfar’s Spring 2020 NYFW party (Photo courtesy of WWD)

Telfar Clemens, known for his non-gender collections,  launched his namesake brandin 2005, however, he finally received recognition in 2017 when he became the winner of the coveted CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award.  For Spring 2020 he will be showing in Paris on Sept. 24th, but Clemens did not forget about the city that launched his career and hosted two parties, one with the beloved retailer Opening Ceremony, and the second, a party that doubled as a screening of his film.

According to WWD, “Guests got their first glimpse of the designer’s new collection in a six-minute clip of a film scripted by “Slave Play” writer Jeremy O. Harris and artist Juliana Huxtable that will be shown in Paris as part of the show.”

“Are you a citizen of united communities?” was one of the questions posed in the dialogue as characters walked through airport security, or stood on buoys in open water with the Manhattan skyline behind them.

As for the clothes in the film, there were plenty of utility-inspired looks, thigh-hole track pants and Budweiser silk printed shirts alongside Telfar’s new jewelry range that plays on his initials “TC,” and popular logo-embossed tote bags.

PYER MOSS

Pyer Moss’ Spring 2020 runway look (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Another CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winner is Kerby Jean-Raymond, the designer behind the label Pyer Moss. The young designer has become a storyteller. Season after season he creates a collection based on the history and popular culture within the African American community. For spring 2020 he did not disappoint and his show was one of the most buzzed about shows of the week.

The show took place at the King Theater in Brooklyn, titled: Sister, the third and final chapter in the Pyer Moss trilogy, inspired by Sister Rosetta Tharpe. A singer-songwriter who rose to popularity in the 1930s and ’40s, Tharpe is considered to be the godmother of rock and roll, though her legacy has been diminished. “I think relatively few people know that the sound of rock and roll was invented by a queer black woman in a church,” said Jean-Raymond backstage during a Vogue interview, moments after the show. “I wanted to explore what that aesthetic might have looked like if her story would have been told.”

The show opened with a powerful sermon delivered by writer Casey Gerald, who is known for his incisive social commentary, it was both uplifting and unapologetically political, referencing the anniversary of slavery in America.  Then a choir of about 70 voices broke into song and the show began. The musical references were loud and clear with a guitar motif that was threaded through curvy lapels of satin overcoats, and the most literal reference was a novelty guitar-shaped handbag, as well as the keyboard print trim on a puff-sleeve blouse.  Jean-Raymond also gave a shout-out to the hip-hop era, which is not surprising considering his new role as artistic director at Reebok.

 

TOMO KOIZUMI

Tomo Koizumi’s Spring 2020 creation (Photo courtesy of designer)

Last winter, Tomo Koizumi’s frothy confections caught the attention of stylist extraordinaire Katie Grand. She quickly contacted the avant-garde designer and had him flown to NY to debut his creations during the Fall 2020 shows.  For his sophomore collection, Marc Jacobs has once again graciously lent his atelier for Tomo Koizumi to use, as well as his Madison Avenue boutique for Koizumi to present his latest innovative pieces. It’s so refreshing to see designers who have made it, help and embrace the newcomers.

Tomo Koizumi’s clothes are far from the ready-to-wear looks that NY fashion week showcases; his pieces are costume pieces that provoke and inspire the audience. Koizumi casted 18-year-old trans model Ariel Nicholson for his one-woman show. The presentation showcased Nicholson dressing and undressing in seven garments as she twirled around center stage. Each frothy look was made of hundreds of meters of ruffled Japanese polyester organza that utilize only one zipper. The construction is spectacular, as ruffles and bows cascade over each other like cupcake frosting.

In an interview with Vogue the designer said, he chose the bow motif because he wanted the collection to represent his gift back to the people who made him. “I just want to bring joy,” he said simply. Mission accomplished.

KHAITE

Khaite’s Spring 2020 runway look (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

There are very few young designers who can balance retail success with being an editorial favorite, but Catherine Holstein, the designer behind the coveted Khaite (pronounced Kate) label has managed to do both. The core of her business, or as Holstein refers to them as “cherished items,” are in her jeans, shirtings and knits. And yes, Holstein in responsible for the internet frenzy of Katie Holmes’ $520 cashmere bra and cardigan; both items which immediately sold out on Khaite’s website.

For her spring show, Holstein showed a few of Khaite’s cult favorite lux basics, but, rather than playing it safe, Holstein opted for experimental pieces that were charming and at times, flashy.

Holstein’s collection was inspired by her childhood summers at her grandmother’s house in Woodstock, Vermont; so fittingly there were plenty of plaids and florals that were reminiscent of the home’s late 60’s furnishings, but with a modern and cool twist.  Key looks included a suede fringe jacket, peplum tops over denim, a deconstructed suit, and a corset top over a satin sarong.

Let’s give the fashion industry and the CFDA a round of applause for finally stepping up to the plate to support emerging designers. Not only have the shows included a full range of diverse models on the runway (ethnic, size, and gender diversity) but they are demonstrating an ‘all inclusive’ range of designers into their ‘club.’ A nice message especially in such divisive times. Let’s see how responsive brands across the pond respond in kind.

So tell us, who’s your favorite up-and-coming designer and why?