Lights, camera, fashion! Every November, the crème de la crème of the fashion world gathers to celebrate the most outstanding designers, stylists, and trendsetters at the CFDA Awards.

This glitzy affair is not just another red carpet event; it’s the pinnacle of fashion’s highest honors. Get ready for an evening of glamour, surprises, and creativity.

History of the CFDA Fashion Awards

Let’s take a moment to appreciate the legacy of the CFDA Fashion Awards. The awards are bestowed by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), a trade group promoting the U.S. fashion industry and American designers on the global stage. Since 1981, the group’s awards have recognized the trailblazers who have shaped the industry and sparked new trends with their designs. 

Often described as the Oscars of fashion, the CFDA Fashion Awards recognize excellence in various categories, including the “big four:” womenswear, menswear, accessories, and emerging talent. The awards are a celebration of diversity, innovation, and the pursuit of creative expression. Nominations are submitted by CFDA members as well as a select group of prominent fashion retailers, stylists, and journalists covering the industry. A vote determines the winner in each category.  

Notable past winners

The list of past winners reads like a “who’s who” of the fashion world. With honorees such as Bill Blass, Donna Karan, Oscar de la Renta, Vera Wang, and Marc Jacobs, the CFDA Fashion Awards recognize designers whose influence has touched everything from haute couture to workwear. Many are household names.

These visionaries have left an indelible mark on the industry. They’ve pushed boundaries, challenged norms, and created masterpieces that continue to inspire designers today. So, when it comes to the CFDA Fashion Awards, you know only the best of the best will come out on top.

A red carpet like no other

It’s not surprising that an event like the CFDA Fashion Awards would feature one of the most exciting red carpets for fashion lovers. Both fashion industry luminaries and A-list Hollywood celebrities have made appearances at the awards over the years, almost always in high style.

For example, in 2014, when Rihanna was named Fashion Icon of the Year, she stunned onlookers in a nearly-nude, shimmery Adam Selman gown featuring more than 200,000 crystals and a matching headwrap. In 2019, Jennifer Lopez sported a two-piece top and skirt ensemble in a brilliant pink-orange hue, complete with a dramatic train. Cher, Lenny Kravitz, Kim Kardashian, Gigi Hadid, Trevor Noah, Keke Palmer, Bowen Yang, and Janelle Monae are just a handful of the other celebs who walked the red carpet at the 2022 event alone.

Among designers, Diane von Furstenberg, Tommy Hilfiger, Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen, Christian Siriano, Michael Kors, and Alexander Wang have all attended over the years. Adam Kimmel CFDA Awards appearances include the 2011 event. Zac Posen is another familiar face at the awards, as are Anna Wintour, Cynthia Rowley, Tory Burch, Thom Browne, and Vera Wang, to name only a few.

The 2022 awards

The 2022 CFDA Fashion Awards took place on November 7 at Casa Cipriani, a hotel and event venue housed in a historic, early 20th century Beaux-Arts style ferry terminal in Lower Manhattan. Presented in partnership with Amazon Fashion, the event marked the 60th anniversary of the CFDA. The winners included these designers:

·        Menswear Designer of the Year: Emily Adams Bode Aujla

·        Womenswear Designer of the Year: Catherine Holstein

·        Emerging Designer of the Year: Elena Velez

·        Accessory Designer of the Year: Raul Lopez

Emily Adams Bode Aujla was the first female designer to show at New York Fashion Week: Men’s and is known for breaking down gender barriers in the menswear field. Her work has featured antique textiles, quilting, and appliqué. Catherine Holstein, meanwhile, is the founder of the popular womenswear brand Khaite; Vogue has memorably referred to her as “a resource for the clothes women truly want to wear.”

Elena Velez’s designs are known for their innovative use of metalwork and for taking inspiration from an unlikely source: the manufacturing past of the U.S. Rust Belt, where she grew up. Finally, Raul Lopez is the acclaimed designer behind LUAR, whose signature Ana Bag has won the favor of celebrities like Dua Lipa and others.

Besides the four major awards, other honors in 2022 went to longtime CFDA member Jeffrey Banks, who received a Special Anniversary Award; and Kim Kardashian, who took home the inaugural Innovation Award presented by Amazon Fashion.

In another first, the CFDA awarded its first-ever Stylist Award to Law Roach, the much sought-after stylist known for his successful partnerships with Zendaya, Emma Watson, and Ariana Grande.

Spectacle and sparkle

Mark your calendars for November 6, 2023—that’s when the 2023 CFDA Fashion Awards are scheduled. It’s a night when fashion’s finest come together to celebrate the artistry, innovation, and excellence that define their industry. Time to grab your popcorn, grab your favorite fashion magazine, and get ready to be impressed by the creativity and glamour on display.