Kerby Jean-Raymond is broadening his impact on the fashion space with longtime partner Reebok.
The brand announced today that it has named Jean-Raymond, the singular force behind his own Pyer Moss label, to the role of VP of creative direction. In his new post, Jean-Raymond — who has worked with Reebok for the past four years in various capacities — will provide creative leadership across all design disciplines for the brand.
He will work closely with Reebok’s product, global marketing and development teams to “ensure his design strategy is consistently implemented across all brand touchpoints,” the Boston-based company noted. Jean-Raymond will serve on the Reebok senior leadership team and report to brand president Matt O’Toole.
The designer and racial equality activist, who notably collaborated with the brand on the Reebok by Pyer Moss line, as well as headed up its Reebok Studies division when it launched last year, will be at the forefront of the brand’s anti-racism program, “Product with Purpose,” which will launch in 2021. The first products under Jean-Raymond’s creative direction will release starting in 2022.
“I am thrilled to be evolving my role at Reebok and joining the leadership team as the head of creative direction,” said Jean-Raymond. “I welcome this opportunity to help invigorate the brand with new ideas, while also focusing on instilling a sense of social purpose into our work.”
Since launching Pyer Moss in 2013, Jean-Raymond’s focus on inclusion and authenticity — with nods to the Black Lives Matter movement and themes like mental health awareness — have garnered much attention and acclaim, including earning him the Footwear News Achievement Awards Person of the Year honor in 2019.
“Kerby is a fashion visionary with a bold approach who has established himself as a leader and a passionate activist,” said O’Toole. “We are incredibly excited about the impact he will have on Reebok from a design and brand purpose perspective and for him to bring his unique voice and direction to the Reebok brand more broadly. This is certainly a big opportunity for both Reebok and for Kerby — he understands the value of our rich heritage and iconic silhouettes and how he can build on that and take Reebok in an exciting and evolved direction.”
Stoked by national unrest over racial injustice stemming from the May killing of George Floyd, scores of fashion brands have stepped up in recent months to accelerate their diversity and inclusion efforts. Reebok, as part of a broader efforts with its parent firm Adidas, announced yesterday its plan to invest $15 million over the next five years into Black and Latinx communities and organizations focused on ending racial injustice. It also said it would relaunch the Reebok Human Rights Award to support and honor activists who are working to dismantle systemic racism. It further pledged to increase its focus on its nonprofit school exercise program, BOKS, to Black and Latinx communities, including a new $200,000 grant program.
For his part, Jean-Raymond has built his brand and reputation on black empowerment, from his groundbreaking spring ’20 runway show at the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn for New York Fashion Week to the meaning of the layers on his bestselling Reebok by Pyer Moss Experiment 4 Fury Trail sneaker.
When the coronavirus outbreak began in New York City in March, Jean-Raymond used his Pyer Moss office as a donation center for medical supplies and set up a $100,000 fund to help minority- and women-owned small businesses affected by the pandemic.