Baton Rouge native Christopher John Rogers designed part of Kamala Harris’ outfit for Wednesday inauguration.
The vice president wore a purple suit and coat designed by Rogers and wore shoes made by South Carolina native Sergio Hudson as she took the oath of office on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, according to the AP.
The first Black and South Asian woman to be elected vice president, Harris has made it a point to wear clothes made by Black designers during events leading up to Inauguration Day.
Rogers, who now lives in New York City, thanked Harris on Instagram for wearing his design.
“We are so honored and humbled to have played a small part in this historic moment,” Rogers wrote.
The purple hue is a nod to the women’s suffrage movement, a color that was often worn by women fighting to gain the right to vote in the early 20th Century. Shirley Chisholm, the first Black women elected to Congress, also often wore purple on the campaign trail, and Harris has noted that Chisholm “created a path” for her.
Rogers is a graduate of Baton Rouge Magnet High School and attended the Savannah College of Art and Design, launching his brand in 2016. In 2020, Rogers won the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s prestigious American Emerging Designer of the Year award in 2020.
April Hammock, a talented visual arts teacher at BRHS who taught Rogers when he was a senior there, said she knew Rogers would be incredibly successful when he was in her class roughly 10 years ago.
“It was like I was able to see his future as a teacher and that was really exciting,” said Hammock, 46. “He is a brilliant young man. He was very kind and very intelligent and very talented, so I knew that Chris was a very special student, and I am so pleased to have been a part of his legacy already.”
Hammock called Harris’ outfit “exquisite” and lauded her former student’s work to design the dress and jacket worn during the inauguration.
“I can’t imagine being in his shoes and being able to do that, and he absolutely deserves that,” Hammock said. “Wow. What a wonderful thing to do, and what a remarkable thing of him to be a part of and be the creator of that dress.”
Rogers has designed for other notable figures before, including Michelle Obama, Rihanna, Tracee Ellis Ross and Lizzo.