These Are the Black American Designers Kamala Harris Is Championing as Vice President
Meet the designers behind her Inaugural looks
There’s been much talk and speculation regarding which designers Kamala Harris would wear while serving as vice president, with rumors circulating she plans to only wear clothes made by American designers. Considering Harris is the first female, Black and Asian vice president of the United States, the stakes and scrutiny surrounding her fashion choices will be heightened, with each minute detail expected to be hyper-analyzed in a manner that no other vice president has been subjected to before.
But if there was one thing evident in both Harris’s sartorial choices from yesterday’s Covid-19 Memorial Service and today’s Inauguration ceremony, it’s the very deliberate decision on her part to champion Black American designers. Last night, Harris wore a camel colored coat by Haitian-American designer Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss. Jean-Raymond was one of the first designers to halt clothing production in order to turn his focus to donating PPE during the onset of the coronavirus, with his brand donating $50,000 to women and minority-owned business struggling amidst the pandemic.
For today’s Inauguration ceremony, Harris has chosen a rich and regal purple (representing unity, as red+blue = purple) coat from Louisiana-born designer Christopher John Rogers, paired with shoes designed by South Carolina-native Sergio Hudson.
With her outfits for the Inaugural ceremonies, Harris is not only conveying her support for Black American designers, but those of a younger generation, independent designers who are in the process of establishing themselves in the fashion industry and will now likely have an easier time of doing so thanks to the platform Harris has lent them. In her choices Harris recognizes that clothes have power, and she’s wielding it wisely.
Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss
Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss Kerby Jean-Raymond first gained recognition with his Spring 2016 Menswear Collection at New York Fashion Week, in which the Haitian-American designer displayed a short film about police brutality while models walked the runway. The commentary quickly gained media attention (most notably a piece by Robin Givhan for The Washington Post) that was quick to align Jean-Raymond’s brand with activism. More recently, Jean-Raymond was named the global creative director of Reebok, a position which will have him overseeing all designs for the company, from shoes to apparel.
Favored by Michelle Obama (who also happens to be wearing a plum-colored ensemble by him at today’s Inauguration) Sergio Hudson is credited as the designer behind vice president elect Harris’s shoes. The South Carolina born designer won Rihanna’s short-lived reality competition Styled to Rock in 2013, with his designs more recently having been worn by the likes of Queen Latifah, Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez, among others. Hudson tends to lean heavily into glamour, creating expertly tailored silhouettes that meld femininity and masculinity to create shapes and designs that seek to celebrate and highlight the female form.
Christopher John Rogers
One of the industry’s latest darlings, Christopher John Rogers has experienced a meteoric rise in the past year (winning the CFDA’s Emerging Designer of the Year Award), with everyone from Zendaya to Tracee Ellis Ross and Lady Gaga having donned his designs. Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Rogers attended The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), where he founded his namesake label while completing his senior thesis in 2016. His work can most aptly be described as Fashion with a capital F, utilizing bold designs in even bolder colors and creating a brand that harkens back to the fun yet extravagant fashions and runways of the 80s and 90s.
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