Brandon Blackwood goes all out while attending his first CFDA awards ceremony. And for good reason: The designer was nominated for American Accessories Designer of the Year, a well-deserved feat, given his massive success with his powerful and no-frills “End Systemic Racism” canvas tote. Launched amid growing protests against racial injustice, the bag has been featured heavily by fashion experts like Kim Kardashian since its first release at 2020 Instagram, snap and wear. Blackwood has had similar success with its popular luggage bags, which are often sold out and range from neutral brown canvas to cow-print horsehair. For Blackwood, the night felt like the culmination of hard work, savvy marketing and strong design work.
To really make things special, Blackwood turned to Italian luxury brand Schiaparelli for his first couture (lots of firsts last night). Outfit: A black blazer with three-dimensional flowers along the bust line, subtly blending traditional male and female codes. “I went to Paris for fashion week and shopped at Schiaparelli, and I absolutely fell in love with the staff,” Blackwood said of how the stunning looks came together. “Three days later, I was invited to a fashion show. I saw a piece that was originally a women’s and knew I had to have it. So I asked the team to make a men’s version, and they agreed. Four months, four fittings— We sent their team to New York for one last fitting – and the look was done. It was a special moment for me because it was the first men’s couture they made.”
Blackwood kicked off the night with a 25 bottle of Armand de Brignac champagne and the hotel room was packed with his esteemed team members, friends and his manicure Teacher Melissa Samuel (aka @finesseyourclaws). Then it was time for the ceremony, with a number of people carrying a Blackwood bag, including models Anok Yai and Ashley Graham, model and activist Bethann Hardison and Jacques Agbobly of BlackBoyKnits. After the ceremony, Blackwood returned to the hotel, where close friends and family waited for the festivities to continue into the night.