From waiting tables just six years ago to winning virtually every accolade dressing every celebrity and being the name on the lips of every editor in town its an understatement to say those six years have been a stratospheric rise for Christopher John Rogers. At just 28yearsold the Baton Rouge native straddles all facets of the industry with approval from the old guard while also being a bona fide obsession of the Gen Z crowd. Still wrapping his head around it all while keeping laser focused on the future of his brand he sat down earlier this week with journalist Alina Cho for her The Atelier series at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The first question on Chos agenda When will we see more! Save for a televised firestarting runway on Gossip Girl 2.0 its been a hot minute since the industry bore witness to a physical CJR show. The designer kept mum cryptically stating that a collection is coming later this summer but not suggesting itll involve a runway outing. One thing he did tease however is that two iterations of the draped rainbow skirt worn by Jordan Alexander to the Met Gala in September 2021 will be included in the line.
Of his work Rogers said he doesnt necessarily seek inspiration from any one place—rather he looks to the chasm that exists in fashion today and his potential to impact the industry overall. Ive been thinking about the mark that my team and I are trying to make on fashion history and I think more than any one reference its about energy and all the things that weve done before and investigating them further he said. And color is always a starting point for me. Its really been an emotional journey making this collection.
Christopher John Rogers Alina Cho Courtesy
Beyond color another element thats intrinsic to the young designers work is his distinctive silhouette. Before he launched onto the scene the term strawberry waist was definitely not in the common vernacular. Yet the shape has become instantlyrecognizable as a hallmark of his designs. Not to mention a favorite of Zendaya Tracee Ellis Ross and Lady Gaga to name a few. One might wonder how he creates those voluminous hips and he revealed to Cho that so many of his pieces have horsehair in them to achieve the desired structured shape. He also laughed that the strawberry waist has something of a mind of its own. We couldnt find a way to make it smaller so we just kept it that big he said.
Rogers spoke of a fateful twist of events whereby his acceptance letter to his thendream school Parsons got lost in the mail. By the time the college had alerted him hed already accepted his place at Savannah College of Art and Design. Parsons loss proved to be the fashion worlds gain as he maintained that he probably wouldnt have made it up until this point without that foundation. I wouldnt be here had I not have gone there he reflected adding that he met three of his closest friends who work alongside him at the college. Learning about fashion in a Southern environment also felt familiar and helped him to create his own identity as a designer—despite what one particular nay saying professor would tell him. Speaking of Southern influences he called out his grandmothers affinity for monochromatic outfits church dressing and a childhood spent sketching with his schoolmate among his earliest formative memories I think i still draw for cartoons today!
While hes certainly hitting the high notes—not to mention beating out the likes of Marc Jacobs and Gabriela Hearst to bag last years CFDA Trova for Designer of the Year—hes loath to be classed as a wunderkind. Im acutely aware of the comings and goings of fashion darlings so I try my best not to dip into trends or look at whats happening to the left or right of me or even whats happening to me he said. Girl its a lot! he jokingly added of all the buzz and hype.