Pyer Moss’ Kerby Jean-Raymond has officially solidified his place in fashion. On Tuesday night in Brooklyn, N.Y., the designer and founder of the ready-to-wear brand was announced the winner of the 2018 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, in which he will receive a $400,000 prize to help grow the luxury label.
Here’s why he deserves all the attention.
He Takes a Stand
Since launching the Pyer Moss brand in 2013, Jean-Raymond has used his designs and his platform to celebrate black culture and promote matters outside the industry. The designer constantly redefines what fashion is by challenging social narratives in America today.
For instance, Jean-Raymond hosted his Pyer Moss spring ’19 runway show in September at the historic Weeksville Heritage Center in Brooklyn — one of the first free black community spaces, founded in 1838. His collection both honored and drew from the African-American experience.
He also kicked off his spring ’16 runway presentation with a documentary on police brutality and racism. And he’s been vocal regarding social issues such as gun violence.
For his fall ’18 campaign, the designer tapped a group of activists (including rapper Vic Mensa) to star in his ads. The individuals shared the common goal of building their communities up while fighting violence and economic disparity. “We will keep working to bridge the gap between fashion, art and humanity,” Jean-Raymond posted on Instagram following the campaign rollout.
While Jean-Raymond’s luxury label has found fans among entertainment’s biggest names, including Rihanna, Janet Jackson, Tracee Ellis Ross and Issa Rae, the designer now has product that is accessible to the masses — thanks to his partnership with Reebok.
In February, the New Yorker debuted his “American, Also” collection with the athletic giant, along with the Reebok DMX Fusion Experiment by Pyer Moss sneaker, which garnered buzz due its futuristic look.
Since then, Jean-Raymond and Reebok have released the DMX Fusion Experiment in an all-black colorway in June, followed by the DMX Daytona Experiment 2 sneaker, his second shoe collab within the Reebok by Pyer Moss collection. That shoe is available now on Reebok.com and retails for $200.
Of the collection, Jean-Raymond said, “I just hope that it’s anybody who is cool with a conscience, who just doesn’t care about disposable clothing and fast fashion will get into what we’re doing. … I want them to take pride in owning it.”
As he continues to be known for his activism and political statements, Jean-Raymond often looks inward for inspiration. Like with his fall ’17 collection — in which he drew from his relationship with his Haitian immigrant father and titled the line “My Father As I Remember – 1980-1999.”
His entire brand is anchored by Jean-Raymond’s own heritage, too. For example, he inscribes the number “94” on many of his garments (a nod to the year his mother died), and the label’s moniker is inspired by her name, Vania Moss Pierre.
Emily Blunt was on hand to present Jean-Raymond with the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award, along with Anna Wintour, Vogue editor-in-chief and artistic director of Condé Nast, who proclaimed Jean-Raymond’s work to have a “high degree of creativity and a deep-rooted commitment to the notion of community.”
The runner-ups for the award included Emily Adams Bode of menswear brand Bode and Jonathan Cohen, who will each receive $150,000.