Route to Success

Route to Success

A young designer hailing from the rich cultural background of Louisiana, Christopher John Rogers is not a new name at the helm of fashion. With a flair for glamour and love for traditional art and culture, he creates designs that adds drama to mid-century and archival aesthetics. He is a designer to that brings revolutions and progressive changes with his witty dressmaking skills. Having dressed from Michelle Obama to Cardi B, his designs embrace and bring out both the modest and artisanal importance. It is a wonder how Rogers does it all.

You are on your second New York Fashion Week and already creating a buzz around with your beautiful designs. What was the inspiration behind it?

An inspired mix of comic books, Southern Baptist church fashion, and my fine art background can be called as the inspiration behind it. The transformative and emotive power of fashion and colour has always been seared into my brain. 

You come from a rich cultural background. Has it had an impact on your design style?

In Louisiana, you can see a strong contrast among the various styles - casual, formal, conservative dressing. We’re also big fans of colour and put in a lot of effort to dress for events.  My designs always have all of these styles blended. During my childhood, my grandmother was the ‘mother’ of the church so we always had to dress to the nines when we went out. I have always been inspired by their way of dressing.

Your debut collection was dubbed as mid-century modern age and the next, inspired by archival dressmaking. Are there any particular ‘art and culture’ movements that have inspired you in your design aesthetics?

Art and culture inspires me. I’m a big fan of abstract expressionism,  colour field painting, Swiss modernism, and postmodernism, among others. You would find me looking at the works of David Hammons, April Greiman, Saul Bass, John Chamberlain, Ángela de la Cruz, Cy Twombly, among others.

Your signature ball-gowns celebrate dramatic flair and you seem to be a lover of mid-century cotillion. What role does fashion history play in your designs?

I think fashion, design, and art history play a strong role in my design process. My work isn’t just about one single era or one single idea. I love having a myriad of disparate references informing the final product. Research is a large part of my design process.  

As a young, black, and queer male designer in the industry, how do you want your designs to influence the industry?  

I just want to show people that my identity reflects upon my works. However, my designs aren’t just about my identity. It’s about all of the things that I love and enjoy. However, if people were to gain a better understanding of anything, hopefully, it’s that black designers aren’t a monolith - we all have varied point of views and tastes.

You create a magnificent affair of single tonal hues. How do you manage to create magic with monotones? 

I think I owe it to my love of analogous colours. The work of Josef Albers and the way, people used to dress at church in various shades of green, red, or violet really helped me to understand how to make an impact with monochromes while making it appealing and understandable.

Your designs are seen everywhere and adored by everyone. Who would you like to be your next muse?

I tend to like dressing people who are helping to move the culture forward in a meaningful and positive way. Anybody who is inspired by the work that we do is always welcome to our house.  

In the fashion industry, there are many designers who sizzle and fade out. What are your plans or strategies to remain consistent at this helm? 

I do not worry about that. I’m just focused on being the most honest and authentic as I possibly can. I don’t work with the trends that many people identify with or try to please everyone. We identify ourselves as focused and intentional.  

How would you describe the woman who wears your designs?

We celebrate femininity, expression, and progressive values. So, the person who seems to be attracted to the work is also a fan of these things, regardless of how they identify.

What do we expect next from your label?

We’re the finalists in the CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund and working on a stellar Spring 2020 show along with a constant stream of custom work. We are definitely keeping busy.

Chitman Kanwar Ahuja

Chitman Kanwar Ahuja is a feature writer at L'Officiel India. She is a silver jewellery hoarder and an aesthete of all arts. You can find her unraveling new stories day in and day out.