Zendaya Is the CFDA Awards Fashion Icon; Anya Taylor-Joy and The Model Alliance Will Also Receive Honors This Year

Those of us plugged into red carpet style have known it since the Vivienne Westwood look she wore to the 2015 Oscars, since the 2020 Tom Ford breastplate at the Critics’ Choice awards, since literally yesterday when she attended a premiere of Dune in a cascade of pearlescent Rick Owens sequins: Zendaya is a fashion icon.

Finally, her status will be recognized this November 10 when she receives the CFDA Award for Fashion Icon. At just 25, Zendaya will be the youngest person ever to receive the honor from the CFDA; she follows in the footsteps of former Fashion Icons Rihanna, Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, Prince, Pharrell, and David Bowie.

The actress and musician will pick up the award at the first in-person CFDA Awards ceremony since 2019—and she’ll have plenty of friends with her when she does. Her stylist Law Roach, with whom she has worked since her teen years, will be in attendance, as will another of Roach’s clients, Anya Taylor-Joy.

Taylor-Joy, meanwhile, is receiving the CFDA’s first-ever Face of the Year Award. With film and television credits that include One Night in Soho, Emma, and The Queen’s Gambit, Taylor-Joy has become someone to watch on the red carpet with her Old Hollywood-style Christian Dior couture dresses and Tiffany jewels. 

The CFDA will also acknowledge the work of The Model Alliance for its continued mission to advocate for the rights of models and garment workers. Founded in 2012 by Sara Ziff, the organization has spent 2021 lobbying to pass the Adult Survivors Act in the New York State Senate and the Garment Worker Protection Act in California, while also working with and advocating for Carré Otis, who filed a sexual assault case against former modeling agency boss Gérald Marie and her former agent Trudi Tapscott. 

The CFDA Award marks a major recognition for the organization within fashion, as Ziff wrote in an email: “For the last decade, we’ve challenged the industry’s unregulated system of financial exploitation and sexual abuse of its mostly young, female workforce. If I’m honest, our efforts have faced a lot of resistance, even from those in fashion who present themselves as progressive. It’s easy for companies to hide behind empty promises to do better rather than commit to legally binding protections. Hopefully with this recognition from the CFDA, we’re moving towards a reckoning that models are not just pretty faces—we are workers deserving of rights and protections, and we want to use our visibility to inject a labor consciousness into the industry at large.” 

The three new honorees join Aurora James, Dapper Dan, Yeohlee Teng, Nina Garcia, and Patagonia in receiving honors this year. Find a full list of CFDA nominees and honorees here.