Fashion Finds May 18, 2021 at 10:34 am

Get to know the Haitian-American designer set to make history at Paris Couture Week

Ama Nunoo May 18, 2021 at 10:34 am

May 18, 2021 at 10:34 am | Fashion Finds

Kerby Jean-Raymond is making fashion history with his debut appearance at the Paris Haute Couture in July. Photo: Pyer Moss

Haitian-American designer Kerby Jean-Raymond is set to become the first Black American designer invited to show at Paris Haute Couture Week. His fashion label Pyer Moss has been invited to be a guest member of the official Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. The New York-based label will show its first couture collection in July, according to reports.

Jean-Raymond began his fashion career working as an intern for the big leagues such as Theory and Marchesa, and this plunged him into the world of big designers very early on in his career.

He also had the opportunity to freelance for Kenneth Cole, Badgley Mischka and Marc Jacobs before launching his solo career with his own fashion label Pyer Moss in 2013.

Ever since his launch, Jean-Raymond has been on the rise, shaking the fashion industry with his bold prints and designs that usually carry a message. His brand uses elements of theatre, activism, social commentary in every collection and during his elaborate runway shows. He sometimes commissions bands and performers to accompany his models.

The son of a New York City electrical technician who emigrated from Haiti, Jean-Raymond described his brand in a 2019 CNN interview as an “art project that operates in the fashion space”. His past collections have made references to police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement. 

The inspiration for his pieces stems from his activism and his environment which eventually reflect his artistic viewpoint. The prolific designer was nominated for the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s (CFDA) Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent for its autumn/winter collection. Later in the year, he won the prestigious CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund.

Also, Jean-Raymond’s award-winning Reebok by Pyer Moss collection in 2018 was such a huge success that the footwear collection catapulted him to the position of Reebok’s global creative director in 2020.

What’s more, the custom-made Pyer Moss camel coat for Vice-President Kamala Harris during the COVID-19 memorial the night before the inauguration put him on the lips of many fashion connoisseurs. He has also made unique pieces for Angela Davis, Colin Kaepernick and Nessa, and Zendaya.

In the past, to hold the label of haute couture and be an official member of the Chambre Syndicale, designers had to show a collection of at least 25 original designs twice yearly at Paris Couture Week, CNN reports, adding that “designers also have to employ an atelier with 20 full-time staff members.”

Now, as the first African-American designer to gain “correspondent status” since the rules were relaxed to invite other designers who are not France-based, Jean-Raymond has the opportunity to present Black culture and his artistic style to the world in ways Pyer Moss has never been seen. His Paris Haute Couture debut presentation will be in June when the show schedules are made public.

The Pyer Moss creative lead and designer is also returning to the New York Fashion Week this Fall with a ready-to-wear collection after a two-year break that was prolonged mostly due to the pandemic. It promises to be a jaw-dropping experience because his last pre-pandemic show made a buzz in the fashion world.

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