Christopher John Rogers

NEW YORK — The winner of the 2019 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund is Christopher John Rogers.

The designer swept up the top prize — a $400,000 bounty — at the 16th annual awards event, which was the first to be held under the Tom Ford era at the CFDA. Hundreds of bold-faced names — designers, models, actresses and musicians — were expected at the awards dinner and fashion show celebration at Cipriani South Street. The event was held at what was previously the Battery Maritime Building in Lower Manhattan.

With his first-place finish, Rogers joins the ranks of previous winners including Alexander Wang; Pyer Moss’ Kerby Jean-Raymond; Public School’s Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne; Brock Collection’s Laura Vassar and Kristopher Brock; Paul Andrew; Telfar Clemens, and Proenza Schouler’s Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez among them. 

This year’s runners-up were Danielle Hirsch for her bridal collection Danielle Frankel, and Reese Cooper for his signature men’s and women’s wear. Hirsch and Cooper will each be awarded $150,000. The winner and two runners-up each represent an individualized approach to fashion.

Rogers, and the runners-up, led a competitive field that included Abdul Abasi and Greg Rosborough of Abasi Rosborough; Alejandra Alonso Rojas; Victor Barragán of Barragán; Hillary Taymour of Collina Strada; Raffaella Hanley of Lou Dallas; Siying Qu and Haoran Li of Private Policy, and Natalie Ratabesi of Tre by Natalie Ratabesi. Win or lose, this year’s finalists received one-on-one mentoring and evaluations from industry authorities as well as business advice.

The entrants’ efforts were sized up by a selection committee comprised of Altuzarra designer Joseph Altuzarra, Instagram’s Eva Chen, model Paloma Elsesser, Vogue’s Mark Holgate, Jeffrey’s and Nordstrom’s Jeffrey Kalinsky, the CFDA’s Steven Kolb, Vogue’s Chioma Nnadi, Saks Fifth Avenue’s Roopal Patel, Theory’s founder and adviser Andrew Rosen, Diane von Furstenberg and Vogue’s editor in chief and Condé Nast artistic director Anna Wintour.

As one of America’s most promising talents, Rogers’ first runway show in New York in September was one of the most anticipated of New York Fashion Week. His concept of “clowns on vacation” did not disappoint. The designer had the front-row support of numerous other designers — including von Furstenberg, for whom Rogers used to work; Altuzarra; Jean-Raymond; Rojas; Victor Glemaud; Frankel, and Adam Selman. Rogers’ site describes his operation as “a fashion-centered design studio based in Brooklyn.”

In an interview with WWD this fall, Rogers said of his aesthetic, “It’s basically encouraging people to take up space, to step into their them-ness. Like, whatever makes you you, all the subtle nuances. If you happen to be the ceo of a company, but you still love watching cartoons in the morning and you also eat Lucky Charms, but you also love tennis, like, all of those things maybe don’t go together, but they’re you. So embrace them.”

Last year Hirsch first ventured into bridal with a very of-the-moment outlook. The latest collection she unveiled last month spotlighted a separates-driven approach.

As is the case with Rogers and Hirsch, Cooper is not afraid to push boundaries. Presenting his spring line in September, Cooper explained to WWD: “I wanted to be outside my comfort zone.” To do that, he imagined a fictional high school common area set inside an actual city office building — New York’s Havas agency. In turn, Cooper has been referred to as a multidisciplined artist.

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