360° Me: Christopher John Rogers

portrait of man with hand on his face

The Baton Rouge-born, Brooklyn-based designer and 2019 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winner on what makes him tick

By Marjon Carlos   Monday 9 December, 2019

Christopher John Rogers would like to speak to the Law And Order costume department immediately. The crime drama may be high stakes, but its fashion is hardly high-octane enough for the 26-year-old fashion designer: everything is far too dark, grey and drab for his striking tastes. ‘When people would watch Law And Order, I was like, “How do you watch this? It’s all grey!”’ he says. “I ended up liking it because of the story, but I was like, ‘Oh, it would be so fabulous if this girl was getting arrested in hot pink!’”

The Savannah College of Art and Design-trained designer has a deft handle on colour, interspersing neons, metallics, Swarovski crystals and jewel-toned ruffles into his two-and-a-half-year-old brand with expert precision. So much so that he nabbed the coveted 2019 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award this past November, capping off a whirlwind season of looks cosigned by the likes of Rihanna, Lizzo and Lil Nas X, to name a few. This spring, his Pierrot-inspired spring/summer 2020 collection will be hitting NET-A-PORTER, Forty Five Ten and McMullen.

Before sitting down with journalist Marjon Carlos at DUMBO House on Friday 13 December, he filled her in on a few of his favourite things. As you can imagine, they are plenty vivid – just how he likes it. 

‘I feel like it’s a luxury to read. It’s really not, though: I see girls on the train really getting their life, reading novels, imagining the characters in their heads, feeling the fantasy, and I’m over here listening to Tinashe’s new album, which hits not only sonically but also... sexually! Still, this year I did read Isaac Mizrahi’s memoir, I.M.: A Memoir, which was eye-opening, enlightening, very well-written and self-aware. I always knew that fashion was fickle – as in, “One day you’re in, one day you’re out!” I’m already kind of mentally preparing myself for that. I’m not at all at the height of my career, but the eyes are watching me.’ 
woman posed holding a rose
‘I’m listening to Kelly Price, Amber Mark, Lion Babe, “Supahood” by K. Michelle, Slayyyter – an electronic diva musician and upcoming icon – plus Kim Petras and King Princess. I’ve been dabbling through the new FKA twigs album and Tei Shi — her new album just came out and she’s also an upcoming icon. I love good production and people who do their own thing. The sound of now is kind of trappy, vibey and chill, which sounds great, but I like people who bring a little something new to it, crossing genres within their albums, and allowing themselves to experiment within a song.’

‘The last podcast I listened to was Ashley Graham’s Pretty Big Deal, because Paloma Elsesser was on it. I knew Paloma was complex and nuanced and well-spoken, but I was really inspired to hear her talk about how you can be beautiful and interesting and still express yourself. She’s just really great. I’m a stan now.’
two supermodels and a man
‘I loved Unzipped and House Of Z. I like to see how fashion juggernauts made themselves or came into being, and also how they dealt with obstacles, sometimes successfully, sometimes unsuccessfully. Just preparing myself for the future and seeing how people ended up, and how I want to stand in relation to that.’
man in slacks
‘I have a uniform now. I used to be rail-thin and when I started to gain weight, I just wanted clothes that I could always look put together and feel comfortable in. I’ve been experimenting and found that what works for me is a carrot pant, jumpsuit or hoodie under a denim jacket. I found something that I like and now I wear it all the time. I love Uniqlo – they did this collab with Lemaire and they make these wide-leg pleated pants that I love. And they have nice little button-downs you can mix and match. I also love Levi’s vintage jackets. And then if we’re going high-end, I love a Calvin Klein by Raf boot – that’s my signature. I also love Dries and, when I get some more money, I want to wear Marni and Comme. Eventually, we’re going to venture into menswear and I’m going to be wearing CJR.’
a Picasso painting of a woman
‘I went to art school, but I’ve also been in art classes since I was in the first grade, so I was always exposed to the arts. Thank God for my family allowing that to happen. Picasso, Seurat, Van Gogh, Gauguin: all these old white men that I was exposed to when I was little, like, “Oh! Colour! Fun!” – that was art. You’re mixing colours, you’re having fun and everything is intentional. Everything [in my work] goes back to this. I was always into comic books, cartoons – I really loved bright shit.’

‘I’m from Louisiana, so I love good Cajun cuisine, like etouffee, gumbo, red beans and rice, pork and beans. I love alligator. I had it in the fourth grade. I was at someone’s pool party and their dad made alligator burgers. “Oh, it’s alligator? Cute! Let me try!” It was iconic. Last meal? Lobster and crawfish ravioli with cornbread on the side, and a small cup of gumbo and fried chicken and greens. And to wash it down, a classic Coke in a can. No ice.’
tokyo at night
‘In my current mental state, my ideal vacation is a staycation. I’m getting an Airbnb in Williamsburg so I can take the city by storm at my own pace for a week. I’m going to a Broadway play, eating at the restaurants I want to eat at, going to the park, and I’m going to have cocktails during the day and take naps. Doing whatever the fuck I want. I’m going to get my hair done, get my nails done and get a massage. The only time I’m going to see anybody is when I’m at drinks or dinner. It’s holiday time and I feel like I’m going to be inundated with friends and family, so I want to be alone right now. In a dream world, though, I’d be going to Tokyo with friends.’

Images from top: Christopher John Rogers (courtesy of David Molle); Amber Mark (courtesy of Rachel Cabitt); courtesy of Unzipped; courtesy of Uniqlo and Lemaire); Picasso; Tokyo (courtesy of Andre Benz)
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