Christopher John Rogers, Staud, & More Nominated For CFDA’s Emerging Designer Award

Eliza Huber

On Monday, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) announced the nominees for the 2020 Fashion Awards. And while most of the names are (unsurprisingly) similar to those of years past (The Row, Marc Jacobs, etc.), one category’s selection of designers is an exciting one.

This year — aside from Sarah Staudinger and George Augusto, of the cult favorite Instagram brand, Staud, who were nominated for the same award last year — the CFDA chose an entirely fresh selection of designers to uplift for the category of American Emerging Designer of the Year. In addition to Staud, the list includes Christopher John Rogers, who in 2019 won the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award; Kenneth Nicholson, a Black designer who began making clothing at 14 before enlisting in the U.S. Navy; Peter Do, the 2014 LVMH Graduates Prize winner who worked under Phoebe Philo at Céline; and Reese Cooper, a menswear designer who founded his namesake label at just 18-years-old in 2016. 

In 2019, the nominees were Heron Preston, who collaborated with Virgil Abloh and Justin Saunders on the streetwear brand Been Trill prior to launching his namesake in 2017; Emily Adams Bode of menswear brand Bode; Beth Bugdaycay of jewelry brand Foundrae; Catherine Holstein of Khaite; and Staudinger and Augusto. In the end, it was Bode that took home the prize. 

While the nominations for the 2020 American Emerging Designer of the Year are certainly worth celebrating, the other five Fashion Awards categories this year exemplify what many believe is fashion’s inability to change and evolve. Tom Ford, who won the ceremony’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014 and is currently the Chairman of the CFDA, is up for not one, but two more nominations this year for American Womenswear Designer of the Year and American Menswear Designer of the year. He’s already won six other CFDA awards in the past. Marc Jacobs, Thom Browne, and The Row’s Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen have previously also won numerous CFDA awards. Right now, when the world is looking closely at fashion to see how it will amplify and support BIPOC voices that have historically been overlooked, the CFDA had an opportunity to do something different. Yes, the nominations were submitted prior to the protests following George Floyd’s death in May, as well as the pandemic, but, as the leading figures of influence in fashion, the CFDA has an opportunity to lead the pack in supporting BIPOC and young designers. And yet — aside from the Emerging Designers category and promising to make “changes to bring racial equity to the fashion industry” (see below) — it’s clear that it didn’t take it. 

With no in-person event being held this year due to the pandemic, this year’s winners will instead be announced on on the morning of September 14 as an opening of sorts for the New York Fashion Week. “In this time of unprecedented challenge and change for our industry, we feel very strongly that it is important to recognize the nominees representing the best of fashion creativity,” Ford said in a press release. His sentiment was seconded by the CFDA’s President and CEO Steven Kolb, who stated: “In lieu of the in-person event, we will be prioritizing new and existing programming to support our designer community during the global pandemic – by redirecting efforts towards next generation scholarships and making important changes to bring racial equity to the fashion industry.” 

See the nominations for all six categories below. 

American Womenswear Designer of the Year:

Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen for The Row

Brandon Maxwell

Gabriela Hearst

Marc Jacobs

Tom Ford

American Menswear Designer of the Year:

Emily Adams Bode for Bode

Kerby Jean-Raymond for Pyer Moss

Thom Browne

Todd Snyder

Tom Ford

American Accessories Designer of the Year:

Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen for The Row

Gabriela Hearst

Jennifer Fisher for Jennifer Fisher Jewelry

Stuart Vevers for Coach

Telfar Clemens for Telfar

American Emerging Designer of the Year:

Christopher John Rogers

Kenneth Nicholson

Peter Do

Reese Cooper

Sarah Staudinger and George Augusto for Staud

Global Women’s Designer of the Year:

Daniel Lee for Bottega Veneta

Dries Van Noten

Miuccia Prada for Prada

Pierpaolo Piccioli for Valentino

Rick Owens

Global Men’s Designer of the Year:

Craig Green

Dries Van Noten

Jonathan Anderson for Loewe

Kim Jones for Dior

Virgil Abloh for Louis Vuitton

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