The CFDA Fashion Awards — often referred to as the “Oscars of fashion” — is one of fashion’s most prestigious award programs, recognizing the best in fashion creativity.
This year, the awards have recognized what CNN describes as the “most diverse group” of winners in the event’s 39-year-old existence. If 2020 has taught us nothing else, it’s that there’s room for cultural diversity in the fashion world — starting with Black designers.
The 2020 CFDA Fashion Awards recognized several prominent Black fashion designers as winners in their respective categories during its first-ever digital ceremony, including Christopher John Rogers, Telfar Clemens, and Pyer Moss’ Kerby Jean-Raymond who won the coveted American Menswear Designer of the Year award, CNN reports.
— The Root (@TheRoot) September 14, 2020
All winners took to social media to celebrate their big wins, including Rogers, who wrote a heartfelt speech stating:
“The past year and a half has been nothing short of a rollercoaster, and I wouldn’t have been able to get to this point of the ride without my NYC family and friends. Thank you for being patient with me, seeing me, keeping me grounded, and always inspiring me to do my best and encourage my vision. The people who I’m lucky enough to surround myself with come from differing backgrounds, walks of life, express themselves in myriads of ways, and allow me to see the world with increased fullness and visualize the work that we do through an eclectic set of perspectives. My friends and family encourage me to manifest my singular American Dream, and I feel that it’s increasingly important to emphasize that specificity and clarity of vision, especially today. I’m incredibly humbled and honored to receive the CFDA Emerging Designer of the Year Award for 2020. Thank you very much to Chairman @tomford and all of the hardworking folks at the @CFDA for your tremendous encouragement and continued support. Thank ya’ll for getting it.”
Even Jean-Raymond unboxed his distinguished award for his Instagram followers Monday night to recap his well-deserved success.
According to The Glow Up, this also makes it the first time in six years that Black fashion figures have won a CFDA award. The last designer was Maxwell Osborne, who — alongside partner Dao-Yi Chow — took home the American Menswear Designer of the Year award in 2014 for their work with Public School NYC.
While Black designers accounted for half of the awards’ winners this year, only six BIPOC figures occupied slots on the “30-strong nominee list,” according to CNN.
Nonetheless, this is a huge accomplishment for Black fashion as each winner has reached unprecedented heights for fashion and Black creatives all over.
We’re finally seeing the representation we’ve been waiting on, and now the responsibility is on these respected institutions to continue to uplift and support Black talent as the world watches with a close eye for what’s to come in the future.