“Oh, I'm telling you guys a lot,” the designer behind Pyer Moss, Kerby Jean-Raymond, said to the crowd during Vogue Magazine's Forces of Fashion conference on Friday morning. And so it seems Kerby Jean-Raymond isn't done opening up. Not even two weeks ago, he sent the fashion industry in a tailspin with his article calling Business of Fashion out for cultural appropriation and exploitation on the heels of their BoF
500 499 cover and gala.
In front of a crowd of about 300 people in Spring Studios Friday, Jean-Raymond continued to open up about his experiences in the industry, speaking to his friend and moderator Tracee Ellis-Ross. He also shared what social media accounts he follows on his Finsta, why he refers to himself as an artist vs. a designer, and the other creative outlets he enjoys, like making beats and sharing on SoundCloud. Not to mention, Jean-Raymond can identify just about any sneaker by its sole and any car by its window pane. “What I've figured out is how to combine all of my passions at Pyer Moss," he explained. "The only thing I haven't figured out yet is cars. I've figured out how to put poetry, writing, film, fashion into the brand.”
Kerby brilliantly incorporated his love of music into his and Lena Waithe's suits for the 2019 Met Gala: the pinstripes were stitched with song lyrics from his favourite artists and the buttons, designed by Johnny Nelson, featured those artists' faces. But ingenious details aside, shoppers gravitate toward his suits just for the silhouette. Tracee Ellis Ross recalled wearing a Pyer Moss suit to the American Music Awards and being struck by the shape of it. “Often women's suits are made as women's suits,” she explained to Jean-Raymond. “There is a different shape to [yours] and I love that straightness. I notice it in your designs.”
“So, let me tell you a secret,” Jean-Raymond cut in as she was mid-thought. “The secret is that creating plus-size is very difficult for a small brand,” he began. “It’s very expensive. It requires a lot of research and development. It requires a whole different level of production. It requires a whole different level of investment.” To that end, Jean-Raymond said: “I find it easier, making flow-y, boxy things that fit a universal range of people so that we can be as inclusive as possible in our size breakdowns.”
Inclusivity isn't a trend for Jean-Raymond, it shapes his brand's DNA. “I want to be remembered for uniting people through all of these different mediums,” he told Ellis-Ross later. “I think if you look at Pyer Moss, it’s really just a communication tool. You don’t really see it until you’re at our show or pop-ups, and then you’re like damn. I say it to my team all the time, how do you create a safe space for all these people who felt ostracized from fashion for such a long time?”