BEING A DESIGNER comes with much power and responsibility, and Kerby Jean-Raymond takes his job very seriously. Yes, he dresses many of Hollywood’s elite men, but he also designs with a true sense of purpose. Last year, he broke the Internet with his “They Have Names” T-shirt, which prominently featured the names of 13 unarmed Black men slain by law enforcement officers. He didn’t do it for mere shock value or for a spike in online sales (proceeds went to the American Civil Liberties Union) but solely to develop a narrative that declares to the world the lives of Black men matter. We caught up with the maverick to talk inspiration, style and making his work a vehicle for change. —ENG
Describe the birth and growth of Pyer Moss.
KJR: I started as a luxury womenswear designer. I didn’t have intentions of starting a men’s collection until I had a need to find clothes that fit me properly. It began with a leather jacket, and the collection just grew from there.
Do you allow social media to influence your designs?
KJR: Absolutely! I have [the privilege of seeing] what my customers wear every day; of course, I’m going to take that into consideration when I’m creating for them. It’s like having the cheat codes to a video game.
How would you describe style as it relates to African-American men?
KJR: African-American men have long been creators of some of the most important trends in history. Once our music went global, so did our styles and other parts of our culture. I believe right now you’re seeing much more than just acceptance of our style but acknowledgement as well, especially in the high-end fashion community.
Read more in the October 2015 issue of EBONY Magazine.
Since 1945, EBONY magazine has shined a spotlight on the worlds of Black people in America and worldwide. Our commitment to showcasing the best and brightest as well as highlighting disparities in Black life has been, and will always be, cornerstone to EBONY.
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