Pyer Moss founder Kerby Jean-Raymond was named the 2018 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winner —a huge accolade that comes with a $400,000 cash prize. Launched in 2003, the initiative is a huge seal of approval for emerging designers, giving them a much-needed boost in a hyper-competitive fashion industry.
While he may not be a household name yet, Jean-Raymond’s been grinding for a minute. Since launching his brand in 2013, he’s secured a coveted Reebok deal, gained a roster of A-list fans and won accolades for his impactful runway shows that explore complex themes like immigration, gun violence, mental health, and the Black experience. His September 2018 NYFW runway show was one of the season’s standouts, masterfully executed in Weeksville, one of America’s first free Black communities.
Ironically enough, Jean-Raymond’s win is one of the few times the annual competition has actually gotten it right. Too often it’s the safe, commercially-friendly brands that win, overshadowing the envelope-pushing mavericks in their shadow. Jean-Raymond built his brand with a team of industry outsiders and struggled to gain financial support due this outspoken nature.
“[his] work highlights a high degree of creativity and the inclusivity of the very best American fashion.”
“At a time when our world faces so many challenges, [his] work highlights a high degree of creativity, a deep-rooted commitment to the notion of community and the inclusivity of the very best American fashion,” said Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Winter.
Here’s everything you need to know about Kerby Jean-Raymond and his brand, Pyer Moss. This definitely won’t be the last time you hear his name.
Family Fuels His Designs
The 31-year-old was born in Brooklyn to Haitian parents. The name of his brand, “Pyer Moss” is a combination of his mother’s American and Haitian last names. Everything he designs references his parents in subtle ways, like small initials or other markers. His Fall 2017 collection drew inspiration from his father, Jean-Claude Jean-Raymond.
He uses graphics to tell stories
Slogan t-shirts and statement gear has gotten him noticed, starting with his 2014 “They Have Names,” tee listing victims of police brutality including Trayvon Martin, Walter Scott and Eric Garner. Colin Kaepernick wore an updated version, “Even More Names,” on the cover of GQ last year. His recent “Stop Calling 911 on the Culture” tee has been worn by Yara Shahidi and Tracee Ellis Ross.
He loves a good collab
In February he debuted his inaugural collaboration with Reebok, “American Also,” which included a massive runway show exploring the history of cowboys and revealed the first in a series of cult sneakers for the brand. His September 2018 NYFW show featured artwork by painter Derrick Adams and a Fubu collaboration. He also teamed up with Hennessy for a clothing line that pays tribute to Black cyclist Marshall “Major” Taylor.
He tells it like it is
Jean-Raymond’s sees fashion as one of the most important social mediums and his collections are innately linked to his politics. His Spring/Summer 2016 runway show featured a documentary on police brutality against Blacks, with interviews of Michael Brown’s family. In an open letter to the fashion industry that he penned last year for Teen Vogue, he wrote: “If you’re on the fence about speaking your truth or sharing your world with a greater audience, don’t be. We need each other, badly. The world absolutely needs your voice.”
He has A-list support
Erykah Badu–one of Jean-Raymond’s first celeb co-signs–styled the visionary’s F/W 2016 runway show exploring depression and mental illness. This year, Issa Rae hosted the CFDA awards in June wearing a custom Pyer Moss jumpsuit embroidered with the words “Every N***er Is A Star.” Vic Mensa and Angela Rye currently appear in the brand’s empowering Fall 2018 campaign and Tracee Ellis Ross rocked the designer’s collection while hosting this year’s American Music Awards.