BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Ebony Magazine's newest edition hits store's magazine racks with the February edition, featuring a Grant Wood classic painting re-invented with a black family, including grandma, standing in front of that famous background. The headline reads "Yes We Still Can, How the Black Community Will Save Itself." Inside, in the magazine's popular fashion section, a Baton Rouge native, Christopher John Rogers, is the new designer showing huge promise.
Rogers, whose name is actually Christopher John Rogers II, is brand new to the Diane Von Furstenberg label and has hit the ground running. Now in his third week at the company, he and another designer are working on the clothes the world will see from Furstenberg in knitwear.
"These are things that you will see on the runway and in stores," Rogers says. "I'm currently working there full-time, and so we're designing for the whole year right now."
WAFB's Donna Britt asked him if he's competing with the knitwear by FUBU and other labels.
Rogers said no. "I think that with the job I have right now, and the work that I'm trying to do personally, I want there to be a sense of classic sense of style in clothes. I try not to focus on trends that d rop the next season, and so my focus is on classic lines and quality of work."
The designs on the pages of Ebony are not just knitwear. Rogers shows a gift for handling different textures together and in creating a show-stopping full-length fur coat, he's actually putting a lot of furrier employees to work! "Over 250 parts to that coat, and it takes about three weeks to make," Rogers says.
How does a graduate of Baton Rouge Magnet High School land his designs in New York fashion shows?
Rogers says his design career may have started as early as grade school. "Probably in fourth grade. I was really into comic books," Rogers says. "I was drawing superheroes and characters, and one of my friends said they were all wearing the same thing, and so I started designing different costumes for them, and it kind of grew from there."
Rogers says his parents were very supportive of him all through those years. He would ask them and they would enroll him in programs and contests that would help him pursue his dreams. He attended the Savannah College of Art and Design, known as SCAD. While interning post-graduation with designers like Tanya Taylor and Rosie Assoulin, Rogers designs would win prizes for those design houses that fueled his rise in what many describe as a cut-throat world of fashion.
Rogers says the people at Furstenberg's fashion house are friendly and are kind to him. He's happy with where he's landed. He continues to design on the side, pushing for his own signature style. He says this job is good for his career.
"I think that it's a sign that I'm going in the right direction where I would like to see my clothes in the next five years. Other people take different avenues to get to their goals, but I'm making my choices for longevity in the field, and I'm comfortable with that."