Kerby Jean-Raymond

Fashion, like most of the world at the moment, is very much about disruption. Pratt Institute seems to be on board with that mind-set, having chosen Pyer Moss designer Kerby Jean-Raymond to receive this year’s Pratt Fashion visionary award.

The New York-based designer will pick up the prize May 9 at the school’s annual runway show, which is known as “LOCAL.” In what will be Pratt Fashion’s 120th annual show, the school’s outgoing seniors will be spotlighting their designs at Spring Studios.

Moss is being singled out for the innovative designs he has created through his six-year-old company. Looking at his own enterprise as “an art project or a timely social experiment,” the designer is known to release collections whenever he sees fit rather than abide by the traditional fashion industry calendar. His statement-making strategy is an upside, according to Jennifer Minniti, chair of Pratt’s Department of Fashion. “His work signifies what fashion can and ought to be: a voice for social change, inclusion and purposeful experimentation. His approach creates fertile ground for taking the necessary risks to produce groundbreaking collections.”

Jean-Raymond has been racking up his share of accolades as of late. Next month he will be off to Paris for the 16th season of CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund’s Americans in Paris. (The designer scored the top prize for last year’s CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund and was among WWD’s 40 of Tomorrow.) Americans in Paris is set up to give participants global exposure and support for sales, marketing and media. For Jean-Raymond, his designs are means to tell bigger stories, as was the case with his fall 2018 “American, Also” that featured community activists, organizers and black cowboys.

The designer will no doubt be a source of inspiration for some Pratt students. As the keynote speaker at the Fashion Group International’s Rising Star awards, he told attendees, “Stick to your convictions, don’t change for anyone else, remember what you came in here for, design like you mean it, design with your heart and nothing can go wrong.”

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