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CFDA Fashion Awards 2020: the most diverse winners in 39 years of history



Written by Ana Rosado, CNN

The organizer of one of the fashion the most prestigious awards programs have called this year’s recipients “the most diverse group” of winners in their 39-year history.
Often dubbed the “Oscars of Fashion,” the CFDA Fashion Awards honored a number of prominent black designers at an online ceremony Monday night, including Haitian-Americans. Kerby Jean-Raymond, who won the coveted American Men’s Clothing Designer of the Year.
Kerby Jean-Raymond's runway looks, Pyer Moss, at New York Fashion Week 2019.

Kerby Jean-Raymond’s runway looks, Pyer Moss, at New York Fashion Week 2019. Credit: Fernanda Calfat / Getty Images

Other personalities recognized by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) include New York-based Christopher John Rogers, who has dressed figures like Michelle Obama and was named Emerging American Designer of the Year. Liberian-American designer Telfar Clemens Meanwhile, he won the Accessory Designer of the Year award after achieving cult success for his iconic bags, one of which was famed by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Capitol Hill.

But while black designers represented three of the evening’s six winners, there were only six BIPOC characters (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) among the list of 30 nominees.

Elsewhere, America’s Women’s Clothing Designer of the Year – the night’s most sought-after award – went to Uruguayan-born Gabriela Hearst, champion of sustainable practices. Valentino Creative Director Pierpaolo Piccioli took home the award for International Women’s Clothing Designer of the Year, and Kim Jones, who has just been named Karl Lagerfeld’s successor at Italian label Fendi, took home the title of International designer of the year for men.

A look from Christopher John Rogers, who was named Emerging American Designer of the Year.

A look from Christopher John Rogers, who was named Emerging American Designer of the Year. Credit: Kena Betancur / AFP / Getty Images

Originally scheduled for June, the prestigious awards ceremony was initially postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, organizers opted for a virtual show to coincide with New York Fashion Week, which kicked off Sunday night. The number of award categories has also been reduced from 11 to six, with the CFDA this year focusing only on designers, rather than models or other industry figures.

“Not having a gala allows us to focus on supporting designers during the global pandemic and shifting our focus towards scholarships and bringing racial equity into fashion,” said Tom Ford, President and designer of CFDA, via an ad on Runway360, a digital platform used to host a number of fashion week events.

This year’s winners join an illustrious roster of past winners including Calvin Klein, Carolina Herrera and Rick Owens. Last year, Brandon maxwell and founders of The Row, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, won the best prizes, while Jennifer Lopez received the Fashion Icon Award.

Top image caption: A model walks the Pyer Moss catwalk during New York Fashion Week 2019.

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