Black Designers Shine Bright at the 2021 CFDA Awards

From emerging labels to established forces, the fashionable night honored a host of Black creatives and industry figures.

Every year, fashion’s finest gather to honor and celebrate breakthrough designers and figures who have shaped the year’s most talked about fashion moments. Following last year’s virtual ceremony due to the ongoing pandemic, last night’s iteration hosted plenty of big-shot celebrities and talented creatives at the Seagram Building in New York City.

With a slew of categories spanning everything from design, to culture, to media, Black designers and industry figures took home a bevy of prestigious awards. Christopher John Rogers — who dressed the event’s host Emily Blunt — was named the American Womenswear Designer of the Year. Naturally, Telfar Clemens of Telfar was victorious as the American Accessories Designer of the Year thanks to the overwhelming success of his must-have ‘Shopping Bag’ and a buzzy collaboration with Ugg.

American Womenswear Designer of the Year winner Christopher John Rogers.

American Emerging Designer — which has honored the likes of Chirstopher John Rogers, Emily Adams Bode, and Sander Lak in years past —  was won by Edvin Thompson of Theophilio while Grace Wales Bonner was victorious as the International Men’s Designer of the Year. Also celebrated were Zendaya, Aurora James, and Dapper Dan who achieved the Fashion Icon, Founder’s Award, and the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award, respectively.

Fashion Icon Award winner Zendaya with supermodel Iman.
Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement recipient Dapper Dan.

For an industry that has seen much-needed change and reflection over the last year, the night felt like a subtle glimpse into its wholly diverse and creatively engaging future. And with September’s Spring/Summer 2022 NYFW runways housing a slew of Black designers — LaQuan Smith, Telfar, Sergio Hudson, among others — that future is undoubtedly not far off. Other winners and honorees of the night included Emily Adams Bode, Demna Gvasalia, Nina Garcia, and Anya Taylor-Joy. Below, see all the winners and honorees from the 2021 CFDA Awards.

American Womenswear Designer of the Year: Christopher John Rogers for Christopher John Rogers

American Menswear Designer of the Year: Emily Adams Bode for Bode

American Accessories Designer of the Year: Telfar Clemens for Telfar

American Emerging Designer of the Year: Edvin Thompson for Theophilio

International Women’s Designer of the Year: Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga

International Men’s Designer of the Year: Grace Wales Bonner for Wales Bonner

Fashion Icon: Zendaya

Face of the Year: Anya Taylor-Joy

Positive Social Influence Award: Model Alliance

Founder’s Award in honor of Eleanor Lambert: Aurora James for the 15 Percent Pledge

Environmental Sustainability Award: Patagonia

Media Award in honor of Eugenia Sheppard: Nina Garcia

Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award: Dapper Dan

Board of Directors’ Tribute: Yeohlee Teng

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