“Every time an interviewer would ask me what else I’d want to be a creative director for I would never say, but in my head it was always a footwear brand,” wrote Kerby Jean-Raymond, the creative director and founder of NY-based label Pyer Moss, on Instagram on Wednesday morning. “Gotta shake shit up a lil yuh know?” The post was an announcement. After three years of collaborating with sports giant Reebok, Jean-Raymond was named the global creative director of the brand. “Or technically… Vice President, Creative Direction,” he clarified.
Pyer Moss and Reebok first partnered up in 2017 to create a shoe called the “DMX Fusion.” Instead, Jean-Raymond created an entirely new footwear style — Experiment 1 — which led Reebok to ask him to design apparel to match. Pyer Moss has since gone on to develop two campaigns with Reebok, Campaign 1 and “Seven Mothers,” as well as a series of videos called “Imma Ball Anyway.” Pieces from the partnership were featured in the Pyer Moss New York Fashion Week runway shows and known to sell out in minutes.
According to a release from Reebok, the designer will provide creative leadership across all design disciplines, as well as work alongside the product, global marketing, and development teams to ensure his design strategy is “consistently implemented across all brand touchpoints.” He’ll also be heading up Reebok’s Product with Purpose program, which goes hand-in-hand with the brand’s forthcoming United Against Racism commitments, launching in 2021. His first products as creative director will be revealed a year later, in 2022.
Despite the pandemic, 2020 has been a busy year for Jean-Raymond. In March, the designer was among the first to halt production of his collection in order to use his studio and offices as donation centres for PPE. He then donated $50,000 (£38,000) to support minority- and women-owned small businesses who were struggling to make payroll and/or cover their costs due to the pandemic. Later this year, his designs were worn by the one and only Angela Davis on the cover of Vanity Fair’s September issue. He also launched a groundbreaking platform in partnership with Kering titled Your Friends in New York, which was designed to help creatives interact with each other and brands; won Harlem’s Fashion Row Designer of the Year award; and, the next day, was awarded a CFDA Award for American Menswear Designer of the Year. The fact is: no one in fashion has ever deserved a position of this acclaim more than Kerby Jean-Raymond.
Of the title change, he said matter-of-factly, “Thank you, Reebok,” only to add: “I haven’t had a job in 9 years, so please get me a lunch box.”