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The CFDA Awards was a big night for designer Aurora James.
By the end of the night, the Brother Vellies designer would find out if she would be the first African-American woman to receive the CFDA Emerging Talent Award, which has built a reputation for setting up new designers for success. Past recipients include Jason Wu, Alexander Wang, Brandon Maxwell and Zac Posen—all of which are household names with an undeniable red carpet presence.
For the designer, who won the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund in 2015 (yes, she's been on their radar for awhile), the moment signifies another step for her sustainable clothing line and innovative business model that equitably shares African fashion design with the world. Her company takes a stance that African artistry isn't only for outdoor markets—it belongs in Saks, too.
"I figured that if I created Brother Vellies it would be a good vehicle to preserve traditional African artisanal techniques and also create jobs for people—that also tied back into the celebration of their own cultures," she explained to Vogue Italia.