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Fashion

Black In Fashion Spotlight: Christopher John Rogers’ Colorful Career Journey

The designer’s eclectic designs have attracted the likes of Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and more.

Working his way up from waiting tables to designing for Diane von Furstenberg, Christopher John Rogers is an exciting addition to the American fashion landscape, thanks to his eponymous label and penchant for color, volume, and joy.

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Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Rogers grew up with parents who championed his inkling for artistic expression rather than stifled it. His early ascent into fashion design began with anime and comics, wherein drawing clothes for his characters became his introduction into style as a form of expression.

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Rogers credits childhood memories, such as his grandmother and women at his church, as his earliest fashion inspiration. He says he still often references those close to him —individuals with dynamic personal style — in his designs today.

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Rogers was no overnight success. The designer waited tables after graduating from the Savannah College of Art and Design, having a hard time finding an employer fond of his flamboyant take on designing. Finally, he landed a job at Diane von Furstenberg, a position the designer says he would later be let go from when his own brand began to grow.

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Even with early celebrity placements, including musicians Eve and Cardi B, Rogers still struggled to gain traction when cold-emailing stylists and editors. It wasn’t until his first fashion show at New York Fashion Week in 2019 (which Rogers had little funds to put together) that the brand would receive its first wholesale order from Net-A-Porter.

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Rogers says his designs are about creating fantasies, not just clothes. Though many of his designs lean on eveningwear, he opts for unconventional fabrics, such as cotton and denim, and reference trash bags for silhouettes. The results, however, are never short of breathtaking.

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Still working out of his living room at the time, Rogers was awarded $400,000 from the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund in 2019, and would use the money to finally hire a full team.

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Since then, Rogers’ designs have graced everyone from Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and Lizzo to Michelle Obama. The now 28-year-old was also the designer behind Vice President Kamala Harris’ outfit for the 2021 Inauguration, and even made a special TV appearance on the reboot of Gossip Girl.

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Further accolades for the Lousiana native include winning the 2021 CFDA American Womenswear Designer of the Year Award and recognition from Forbes with inclusion in its 30 Under 30 Designers and Artists.

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It’s not often that you find a collection chock-full of unapologetically full-bodied garments in bright hues, but that’s Christopher John Rogers through and through. The designer says he creates clothes that encourage self-assurance in its wearers, and pieces that the younger version of himself would be excited to see.

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Read the rest of our ‘Black In Fashion Spotlight’ series on: Telfar Clemens, André Leon Talley, Virgil Abloh, and June Ambrose.