Christopher John Rogers Talks Celebrities, Future Plans – WWD

In what was his first live interview, Christopher John Rogers spoke at The Met Tuesday night about his fast-paced fame, celebrity outfits and his future plans.

Having made his debut in 2018 and winning the 2021 CFDA Award for American Women’s Clothing Designer of the Year, Rogers’ rise has been somewhat accelerated by coordinating celebrities such as Lizo Zendaya, Lil Nas X, Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Michelle Obama.

During Tuesday’s hour-long discussion, which was part of the “The Atelier With Alina Cho” series, Rogers, 28, appeared to be looking forward as much as he was looking back. Speaking of his next collection, Rogers said, “Recently, I was just thinking about the label that my team and I are trying to make in the history of fashion and fashion. More than any single reference, it’s about energy, all the things we’ve done before, and investigating it further. Color. It’s always the starting point for me.”

Rogers said his reaction to winning the CFDA award last year was “disbelief,” adding that he was “trying not to think too much about the awards and accolades.” The designer said that going from cutting $5 of fabric on the patio in his apartment kitchen with his team to winning a CFDA award was “just crazy.”

“I’m well aware of the coming and going of fashionistas. I do my best not to get caught up in trends or look too much at what’s going on to my left or right, or even what’s happening to me. Some of my favorite designers like Isaac Mizrahi and Todd Oldham have come and gone. Some [have done so] For work reasons or because they decided to cut it off… which I understand.” “I just try to keep my head down, focus on work and celebrate with people who are actually my friends. Go out to the places I go and make it nice.”

After graduating from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2016, Rogers moved to Brooklyn, New York, waited tables for a year and then took a job at Diane von Furstenberg and began sewing his own designs at night in his kitchen after work. Although he started his company in 2016, his first presentation was held at the Martos Show in September 2018. Several retailers “tried to place orders, but we were reluctant to do so because we all had full-time jobs at the time,” Rogers She said.

Emphasizing how much hard work it takes to succeed in fashion, Rogers said he’s still working on jobs for others through the start of 2020. The arrival of his first check for his win in the $400,000 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund changed that.

In late February, Rogers dressed Meghan Markle for the NAACP Image Awards in a single “Cunningham Blue” gown (in honor of the color chosen by the late New York Times street photographer). The former Duchess of Sussex suddenly emailed him. ‘I was, like, ‘Is that actually you?’ I googled all the details [on the email] Well said. I gave my data from Edward Enninful [of British Vogue]. She told me that she really wanted to make a statement after she had her last child. And she wanted to feel attractive and feel free.”

The fixtures were done via Zoom with her tailor and in one case with the help of her husband Prince Harry, who grabbed the phone and turned it on himself to say hi. “Which I love – I love realism,” Rogers said.

“You like real princes,” Chu said with a laugh. “so do i.”

Taking Kamala Harris to be sworn in as Vice President of the United States was another memorable moment for Rogers and his team, who watched the opening while eating bread in his Brooklyn apartment “in the hope that a dash of that color would appear on our screens.”

While “seeing the breadth of people who can find themselves at work and feel at home” is the plus side of celebrity clothing, the designer said he gets even more excited by seeing “real people on the street dressed.”

Asked about the controversy the Grammys organizers faced after referring to Virgil Abloh as a hip-hop designer at this month’s awards show, Rogers said, “I can identify with people willing to label you or reduce you to something, and satisfy you with an elegant, commercial box. I’ve always refused that.” ..I try not to understand how others can see me or see me. I try to make it relate to the work itself.”

Rogers remembered how nice Abloh was to him at last year’s LVMH Award Finals, giving his phone number and helping out if he ever needed it. On his way back from Thanksgiving weekend in Louisiana, Rogers said he considered texting Abloh to see how he was and learned of his death the next day. The late Albert Elbaz is another designer who Rogers admired, in large part due to the fact that “you can’t really classify his work, whether it’s day or evening or cocktail – the work speaks for itself…”.

Wearing a baseball cap and black jumpsuit by Dries Van Noten, Rogers said his obsession with the Belgian designer’s color-focused work began in 2007. Other favorite designers include Mizrahi, Oldham, Consuelo Castiglioni, Christian Lacroix, and Madame Grace Alex Barton. Becoming the creative director of a European fashion house is one of Rogers’ dreams and goals, but he refuses to identify the three to five he thinks of as my dream jobs.

His candor provided some lighter moments, such as the habit of interviewing himself in the shower by imagining questions journalists might ask. “I believe in transfiguration and always want to be prepared. One of my favorite hobbies – to this day – is watching interviews with the archival designer. I love searching on YouTube and finding archival interviews with [Emanuel] Ungaro or [Karl] Lagerfeld, and seeing how they used words to explain the inexplicable.”

Watching people with “people like Rei Kawakubo, who rarely give interviews” was insightful, according to Rogers. He said how to allow “the gray areas to be sufficient and comfort in those small spaces” was among the takeaways.

Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Los Angeles, Rogers said his fourth-grade hobby of creating comic books sparked an interest in fashion, after a friend noticed how female comic book characters never change their outfits. “We started drawing shapes and looking at what color and proportion meant for a character,” he said.

Within the next three to five years, Rogers aims to create “a place where people can feel free, support themselves, come up with ideas and be heard.” Noting how people in the fashion industry, particularly in terms of design, can feel as if they are being urged to take action at specific directions, Rogers, who has six full-time employees, wants to avoid it.

One of Rogers’ designs—a boldly striped oversized dress with a trash bag-inspired fabric—was a mainstay in the first part of the Costume Institute’s “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.” The white poplin that was part of the gallery’s latest update also contains prime gallery real estate.

Fans of the vibrant dress he designed for actress Jordan Alexander “Gossip Girl” to wear at the Met Gala last fall will be able to purchase two different versions of the skirt in his next collection. When the designer was asked when it will debut, he somewhat reluctantly said later this summer. Designs from Rogers’ Spring 2021 show appeared on the HBO Max show and he designed outfits for some of the cast.

“The thing I always try to do in my work is to make something that combines so many different references that it seems timeless or anti-time, if that makes sense,” Rogers said.

After Cardi B wore one of his coats to the 2017 BET Hip Hop Awards, Rogers said it was the first time he’d realized the power of Instagram. His base of 7,000 followers on Instagram – at that time – gained 5,000 more in a single day. (Rogers now has 261,000 followers on Instagram.)

While his father, who is a technologist, admired the importance of using Instagram as a tool, and his late grandmother inspired his penchant for monochromatic combos, Rogers said he was inspired by many different things, including other designers, art and music. He also said that he wanted his work to be “without a doubt I’m familiar with all the nuances and idiosyncrasies and things that I love.”

Rogers said his parents instilled in him the belief that “hard work will take you wherever you want to go.” “It never happened,” Rogers said, referring to the way he envisioned making a wonderful batch of old people to be picked up on the spot by stores. Rogers spoke of the importance of surrounding yourself with “people who can see your light and understand that you have something to offer,” Rogers said he was a friend who insisted on saving his first salary to buy an industrial sewing machine, “Who knows what would have happened? [otherwise]? “

When asked about his enthusiasm for color, the designer said it’s the way he sees the world. “I like treating color as an object.” As for “Sesame Street” characters, Ernie and Burt, being among his style icons, Rogers explained that it was due to his “sense of humor and love for each other, as well as because of the lines, the color, and the crazy hair.”

But inspiration can come from anywhere, noting that he once drew some from a piece of plastic he found on the floor. Sticky notes or even food stains can lead to color choices. “It leaves your mind and your eyes open to whatever you get inspired by and not say, ‘It has to be this picture or that statue. “