“What does patriotism mean for black people?”
It’s a question that Pyer Moss creative director Kerby Jean-Raymond poses as he reflects on his Collection 3 runway show at New York Fashion Week, with HYPEBEAST having been in tow to trail the designer behind the scenes. It’s also the same question he’s sought to answer throughout his entire “American, Also” series, of which the latest installment cast Sister Rosetta Tharpe into the spotlight as the founder of rock n’ roll.
“It’s part of a thesis and I used these three collections to take ownership of things that are like, stereotypical American — rock n’ roll, the cowboy culture, family values — and really show how it originated from black [culture] and we should have a sense of pride in everything that’s American as well,” Jean-Raymond explained.
His stance is far from new to the longstanding Pyer Moss ethos of illuminating underrepresented communities, but has proven refreshing to the industry as he’s risen to prominence these last few seasons. In the past year alone, the vocal designer took home the prestigious CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund for 2018, received Pratt Institute’s Fashion Visionary Award and was named artistic director over a completely new division at Reebok.
Despite the newfangled fanfare, his dedication and attention to his luxury label holds steadfast. He despises the term “streetwear” — a word he feels is just used to pigeonhole young black designers — and instead has evolved his offering to what he calls an “art collective.”
“We use fashion, film, music — everything — to drive whatever the message home that we feel is important at the time and what people actually need.”
See what more Jean-Raymond had to say in the video above and for more from the brand, take a look at the backstage photos of Collection 3.