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October 6, 2022
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BLACK CREATORS

Kerby Jean-Raymond

Kerby Jean-Raymond is the creator and creative director of Pyer Moss, a New York-based label that has evolved its story from nostalgia to social criticism. Jean-Raymond hopes to interact with the history, present, and future of the black American experience via personal storytelling and provocative showmanship through the Pyer Moss platform. Between 2000 and 2004, the Haitian-American designer attended New York’s High School of Fashion Industries, interning at Marchesa and Theory before enrolling at Hofstra University. In 2008, he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Jean-Raymond attended Brooklyn Law School for a semester before dropping out.

Kerby Jean-Raymond, the designer behind the New York-based brand Pyer Moss, will resign as global creative director of Reebok on March 1, according to a statement he posted Thursday morning.

The designer’s departure occurs less than 18 months after his September 2020 appointment and just prior to the anticipated completion of Reebok’s acquisition by Authentic Brands Group, which acquired the brand from erstwhile parent firm Adidas for $2.5 billion in August. Under the vast Adidas umbrella, Reebok failed to grow; ABG, on the other hand, is notorious for acquiring floundering brands such as Brooks Brothers, Forever 21, and Juicy Couture. Reebok stated last week that it would lay off 150 staff in anticipation of the final sale.

“We want to express our heartfelt appreciation to Kerby for all he has done for Reebok,” Reebok president Matt O’Toole said in a statement. “His contribution to the brand’s success will be felt for years to come. We wish him nothing but the best.”

“I thoroughly loved my time at Reebok and wish the organization continued success in all of its future initiatives,” the designer stated.
Jean-Raymond began working with Reebok in 2017, creating highly anticipated collections of bulbous, mind-bending, and ultimately prophetic shoes (several of the designs were literally titled “Experiments”). He previously served as artistic director of Reebok Studies _, a program dedicated to developing exceptional projects in partnership with designers and celebrities, as well as building the brand’s roster of emerging talent. His appointment as creative director in 2020, just weeks after winning the CFDA’s top prize for American menswear designer of the year, included the announcement that he would lead Reebok’s socially conscious “Product with Purpose” initiative; earlier that summer, Jean-Raymond partnered with French luxury group Kering to launch “Your Friends in New York,” an incubation and support platform for emerging creatives. Jean-Raymond also became the first Black American designer to present a haute couture collection during Paris Couture Week last summer, during his stint at Reebok. The collection paid homage to Black ingenuity and invention. A plush peanut butter jar that can be worn, a hot-roller cape, and a couture air conditioning unit? What Kerby Jean-Raymond was up to? “Ayahuasca,” he explained, referring to the source of inspiration for his debut Pyer Moss couture collection. However, it is considerably more cosmologically expansive than that.

The political designer has always had ambitions beyond fashion, and he used the worldwide stage of haute couture to honor ignored Black American inventions and inventors with a collection of soft sculptures that may one day inhabit their own Pixar-like Hollywood universe.

Welcom te encontrar en Kerbyland.

The Pyer Moss couture presentation took place in the heart of Black entrepreneurialism — the century-old Villa Lewaro estate in Irvington, New York. Madam C.J. Walker, the first self-made female millionaire in the United States, lived here alongside the Rockefellers and Goulds.

Jean-Raymond is also a first, as the first Black fashion designer to earn a coveted slot on the schedule of Paris Couture Week. To get there, he underwent a rigorous approval process, which included setting up ateliers in Los Angeles, where he collaborated with costume designers and soaked up inspiration from Hollywood, and Brooklyn, where he hired seamstresses and sent sketches to the Federation de la Haute Couture et de la Mode in Paris.

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