His coveted accessories have been worn by everyone from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Solange.

By Christopher Luu
Sep 14, 2020 @ 5:01 pm
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Originally scheduled for Monday, June 8, the CFDA Fashion Awards went virtual this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Lack of pomp and circumstance aside, the honors were still handed out via a video with emcee Tom Ford, who serves as the chairman of the CFDA Board.

One of the most exciting highlights includes an award for Telfar Clemons and his eponymous brand, Telfar. Clemens took home the honor of being the 2020 American Accessories Designer of the Year (past honorees include Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen for The Row and Stuart Vevers for Coach, putting Clemens in very good company — though this is the first time the category spotlighted American designers). Established in 2004, Telfar is a genderless fashion project that's earned attention and, now, accolades.

Credit: Getty Images

This year's nominees encompassed the most diverse group of recipients in the 39-year history of the awards, according to a release from the CFDA. Every year, the winners are chosen by the CFDA Awards Guild, a group of CFDA members, fashion journalists, top stylists, and select retail executives. Clemons has been nabbing headlines with his brand's cult-favorite tote bags, which have democratized luxury by offering high design at an approachable pricebecome a pandemic go-to, and have even been spotted on the arms of celebrities — including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Clemons celebrated the news with a festive Instagram post that showcased the bags in just about every shape, size, and color available.

The brand's tote style, officially called the Shopping Bag, debuted in 2014 and instantly became one of the most coveted accessories available. SolangeBella Hadid, Selena Gomez, and Dua Lipa have all been seen with the bags and its price tag (ranging from $150 to $257) meant that most fans could nab one of their own — if they could manage to get on into their virtual carts. Demand was so high, in fact, that new drops sold out within seconds and the brand decided to implement the Bag Security Program on August 19, which guaranteed a bag for shoppers with a delivery date of January 2021 as long as they paid in full.

"The whole point of our bag is accessibility and community. But when thousands of bags sell per second we can't even know how many to make," a brand representative told Complex at the time.

This year's international CFDA Awards went to Pierpaolo Piccioli for Valentino and Kim Jones for Dior for womenswear and menswear, respectively. Gabriela Hearst took home American Womenswear Designer of the Year and American Menswear Designer of the Year went to Kerby Jean-Raymond for Pyer Moss.