Christopher John Rogers Is Not Your Industry Darling

It’s hard to go without designs by Christopher John Rogers. His daring “pragmatic charm” (his words) could be instantly recognized, and decided not to be shy. It’s a bit ironic, then, that Rogers appeared nervous as he stood on stage for his first in-person interview last night at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Rogers took the stage with the fashion journalist and CBS Sunday Morning contributor Alina Cho to discuss the whirlwind that came to the top of the fashion industry. Despite Rogers’ tension earlier, he quickly became comfortable with Cho, allowing him to showcase his unique charisma and charisma in conversation about his career path, how it was designed design with the nuances and meanings of today’s women’s clothing.

christopher john rogers alina for elle magazine meet institute costume

Rogers and Cho on stage.

Madison Voelkel /

From sewing his first collection at his dinner table with a few close friends in 2017 to being recognized as fashion’s Next Big Thing less than five years later, Rogers has succeeded in a way that everyone can. Every young designer dreams. However, he expressed displeasure with the “industry darling” label, noting that others, namely New York fashion designers, had been called so and quickly sold out due to industry needs. Fortunately, his close friends (like knitwear designer Henry Zankov) and a close-knit team of staff kept him steady and exceptionally focused throughout his ascent. mine. Rogers went on to emphasize that his career would change dramatically if he ended up at his dream school, Parsons, instead of Savannah College of Art and Design, where he met Christina Ripley, the brand manager and his best friend, on their first date. school.

That experience helped Rogers learn about fashion in a southern environment, and as a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, provided him with a tangible affinity that New York simply couldn’t provide. His unique take on ready-to-wear invites wearers to love their everyday wear, whether opting for silk-satin wide-leg trousers or a brightly colored polka dot dress. When you wear the CJR, you feel empowered by Rogers’ color choices, which he works with “as an object” often underpinning each collection.

For what it’s worth, Rogers’ work has now been featured twice in the Costume Institute, in both the first and second spins of the show. In America: A Lexicon in Fashion. Two suits show the breadth of his work, the first being an oversized evening gown and puff-sleeve blouse knit in pink and purple plaid taffeta; the second, a light white two-piece turtleneck in plain cotton and organza seersucker from Collection 009.

alina let christopher john rogers meet fashion institute exhibition

A plaid taffeta blouse and evening gown combo from Collection 006.


Following his discussion with Cho, Rogers sat privately with to discuss the future of American fashion, his brand and what is in store for the Met twice. really feel like.

I know you get a lot of inspiration from music. Is there a certain song, album or artist you listened to when designing your latest collection?

Not a specific artist. I’m sure everyone does this, but I create playlists from songs I find and just add them to the playlist. Once a section is completed⁠ — such as Spring 2019 with its own playlist⁠ — the playlist is complete.

How does it feel to have two dresses at two different exhibitions, with their backs to each other?

It’s a bit gruesome! I really never really thought about it. I really never accepted those moments. I know the correct answer is it’s gagged, but I didn’t even think about it. But it To be cazy.

christopher john rogers elle alina for meeting exhibition

A white cotton and seersucker organza dress from Collection 009.

Anna-Marie Kellen

Most designers will take that and use it as an excuse to rest on their laurels. You talked about industry darlings and their ups and downs. A lot of people see your career as a yardstick, but is this just the beginning?

I feel like there are a lot of different ways people categorize designers and industry buffs as one of them, but I want to be the smaller, more appropriate, better performing and smaller person. be this giant, or it seems, this giant, brand or person.

You want to be everything to some people, not something to everyone.


It seems like everyone wants hot young designers to be sold everywhere and scale very quickly.

We don’t do that, and I don’t need to do it. I’m so lucky I have a great team who remind me of that. I am a creative person, I am also a business person. I like strategy, and I always say, “Maybe we should do this for this girl, who doesn’t really love it,” and then I stop and say, “Wait, there’s a girl out there.” girls join.”

Is there anything in the American fashion scene that you think is missing? Or is there something you’ve seen recently that you appreciate?

I think diversity is lacking, not necessarily in terms of race, but in all areas. Specifically, in terms of aesthetics, there is a lack of variety. There isn’t much aesthetic diversity and there aren’t enough people to promote change. For example, I think Vaquera is a great brand, and especially since Comme des Garçons has invested in them, their merchandise is great, the quality is better, so why aren’t they present in all the stores? this store? Same with Elena Velez. I think she’s very talented, so where does the American fashion industry support her work?

What do you hope for the future of American fashion?

I want American fashion to do its own thing and stop looking everywhere for inspiration and direction. There was a time when we were the leaders delivering powerful fashion moments. We need to push forward in a way that doesn’t consider the trend. There are enough talented people here to do just that. Give them the recognition they deserve and really support them.

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