Celebrating Black Culture at NYFW: Pyer Moss Mixes Activism With Fashion

“Imagine what the African-American experience would look like without the constant threat of racism,” Kerby Jean-Raymond, designer and founder of Pyer Moss, said of what inspired the New York label’s spring 2019 ready-to-wear collection.

The show’s setting provided a striking backdrop for viewers. Brooklyn neighborhood Weeksville is a particularly historical location, as it is home to one of the first free black communities. The neighborhood was founded in 1838, eleven years after slavery was abolished in the United States. Now, taking a look at current African-American life in America, he incorporated paintings that depict ordinary aspects of black lives into the collection. The Pyer Moss collection also showcased pieces that made statements like “See us now?” and “Stop calling 9/11 on the culture,” sending a powerful message to the fashion industry and everyone watching. Racial inequalities are still heavily present in the fashion industry, and combatting discrimination is exactly what Jean-Raymond set out to do. His cast of all black models and stunning designs gave New York Fashion Week an unapologetically black show.

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Mckenna Dersam

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