Last night, much of New York’s fashion scene commuted to Los Angeles in the name of an evening soirée. The fete in question was the inaugural Fashion Trust U.S. awards ceremony, which commenced at Goya Studios in a bustling pocket of West Hollywood. Attendees included Tracee Ellis Ross, Heidi Klum, Law Roach, Demi Moore, and more, who were unperturbed by the city’s continuous rainfall.
Having kicked off first in Saudi Arabia with attendees such as Naomi Campbell and Bella Hadid before expanding to the United Kingdom and the U.S., the non-profit organization, founded by Tania Fares and Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, serves to foster emerging designers, connecting them with resources including funding and mentorship.
“Can you believe all this talent? That’s why, this morning, we were all screaming at each other—but in a good way,” Laura Brown, who partnered with Fares on bringing Fashion Trust to the U.S., said to the room’s massive crowd; meanwhile, a presentation of the night’s contesting designers illuminated the screen behind her. She had just explained to the audience that what was intended to be a night awarding five designers quickly became six as the organization added an impromptu category after the success of an exhibition that had taken place earlier in the day.
The St. John Ready-to-Wear Award went to knitwear designer Aisling Camps, who, in her acceptance speech, reflected on starting out her design career in a 350-square-foot studio after ditching an engineering job. Tracee Ellis Ross presented Soull and Dynasty Ogun of L’ Enchanteur with the Jewelry Award, and in a heartfelt speech, the duo dedicated the moment to their mother, who passed away two years ago. Then, Law Roach, who recently made headlines for announcing his retirement from fashion styling, joked, “Let me not [mess] this up, because I need this job,” before presenting the Graduate Award to Papa Oppong.
After a brief intermission wherein everyone enjoyed a mesmerizing performance by Scout LaRue Willis, Stephanie Horton of Google and Aurora James of Brother Vellies and the 15% Pledge presented Jacques Agbobly with the Inclusivity Award. Ciara and Mike Amiri then handed Carly Mark of Puppets and Puppets the Google Creativity Award (“I finally get the crying thing,” Mark said on stage). Finally, Olivia Wilde called on Elena Velez to take home the Sustainability Award.
In a space where events are nonstop (it is, after all, Hollywood), there’s always a freshness and high energy that comes with an inaugural celebration. Ahead of the sit-down dinner and ceremony, guests such as Storm Reid, Christine Quinn, Jurnee Smollett, and Lukas Gage trickled in from the rainy outdoors over an hour or so, greeted inside with Casamigos cocktails, filet mignon canapés, and more. Meanwhile, the contesting designers congratulated and toasted one another before taking their seats together. At the end of the night, attendees left the banquet room (which had been glowing with lengthy tables dotted in surplus with candlelight) behind, and hung back in the cocktail lounge area awhile for the after-party.