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Christopher John Rogers: A case study

Christopher John Rogers

Our discussion has touched on a broad array of designers that are all contributing to this newfound fashion era that is infused with humour and joy.

To grasp a better understanding of how this is being imbued into fashion design, we are going to look a case study. Christopher John Rogers has been one of the most standout designers during the pandemic. He is an example of the most fantastical side of fashion.

He brings us joy and love and light in vibrant colour, in vividity and audacity in the best way. And this is not only innovative, but rare in this particular moment. After all, toned-down neutral palettes and anti-fashion all-black aesthetics have dominated the world of ‘high fashion’ in recent times, being deemed as the only definition of ‘classy’ and ‘chic’ – the epitome of luxury culture.

But Christopher John Rogers opposes this. He says luxury is in the joy of it all. It’s in the neon yellow tailored suit with the sharp corners and bold proportions. It’s in the bright and fervent orange dress that wraps around like a towel. It’s in the frills and the stripes and the sky and the earth and a smile. And in this moment, when the world is so dark – this is when we need this kind of light the most.

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

“I think the work that we do carries a lot of nuance to it—a lot of color, a lot of volume, more often than not. It definitely requires people to look at you; whether or not they enjoy what they’re looking at is a different story. It’s polarizing. It makes a statement. It’s unapologetic. You can wear the biggest, pinkest, brightest thing, but still also be the most intelligent and the funniest and the most kind person. When you wear the clothes and when you’re in person with them and when you really think about it, there are a lot of layers that go into how it makes you feel.”
Christopher John Rogers, interviewed in W Magazine.
In an interview with W Magazine about his Spring 2021 collection, he spoke about the impact of quarantine on his design process:
“At the beginning of quarantine, I obviously wasn’t able to come to my studio, and a lot of my drawing utensils and stuff were left here. So I ordered some colored pencils online, and I just started doodling. It wasn’t really anything representational; it was more abstract shapes and the idea of just putting color on the page and having fun. It reminded me of being in elementary school, drawing things. This season was mostly inspired by children’s drawings. I love the idea of the immenseness of the sun and how formidable it is and the fact that it’s gas—and kids will reduce that to a yellow circle on the page. I think it’s really funny. That energy is what ignited this most recent collection.”
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Christopher John Roger Spring 2021 Collection
Not only that, but CJR’s luxury is about accessibility. It’s about inviting as many people into the circle as possible – accordingly, he recently released an incredible Target collaboration, which will make his vibrant luxury accessible to masses. All this being said, it is important to understand, CJR does not want to be defined exclusively by his ability to create ‘happy clothes’. This new movement is much more than that; it is a way of thinking that invites personality and free expression into the picture.
In interview with i-D Magazine, he mentioned:
“I enjoy making clothes, and I enjoy designing clothes, and there’s always been an aspect of me making work that I actually want to wear. That does have to do with colour, print, brightness – things that I can’t find elsewhere. But when people see colour, or a floral, or something that is perhaps a traditional marker of femininity, they sort of flatten it and lump it all together under the banner of ‘optimism’.
I’m generally an optimistic person – I like to make people laugh and to make sure that the people around me are happy – so it’s naturally a motif that recurs in my work. Last season really embodied that for a lot of people – lots of conversations around the work and the brand were, like, ‘Oh, it makes me feel so happy! There’s so much joy here!’ Which is great, but I also don’t want it to just be about making ‘happy clothes’. There’s more that goes into it than that. This season, I really wanted to lead with that sense of nuance and find new ways to give people that same feeling – to convey a sense that’s inherently me, while also challenging myself to do things I enjoy that maybe don’t seem like something I would do.”
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Christopher John Rogers for Target Collection
From David J. Rivera, on the Christopher John Rogers team, via Instagram:
“If for the moment that you experience our work you feel overjoyed and taken to a place of excitement and safety in some fantasy world, whether it’s through a floral printed cotton dress from Target or an ivory heavy crepe skirt suit covered in Swarovski buttons, my hope is that you feel re-energized and empowered to wear the thing you you were too afraid to wear, to say the thing you were to nervous to say, and maybe even be the person you were too scared to be. But please, remember, fantasy and reality are not mutually exclusive. You can most certainly wear the entire rainbow to work. Anyone who says otherwise is boring.”

Reflective question

  • What do you think of the collection and the collaboration with Target?

Please share your answers with your peers in the comments down below.

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Digital Playground: Where Luxury Fashion is Finding its Sense of Humour

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