Kerby Jean-Raymond has been transparent about his process, being vocal about what he wants to do and when he wants to do it, and told WWD at the CEO Summit last October that he will have a show when he has something to say.
And now he’s ready to say it.
The founder and designer of New York City-based fashion brand Pyer Moss will hold drive-in premieres for his film, “American, Also”, following social distancing and lockdown requirements. The details of the event and locations will be revealed this summer.
The film, which has been two years in the making, follows Jean-Raymond and his team, partners and collaborators producing the Pyer Moss runway show in September 2019 at Kings Theatre in Flatbush, Brooklyn. The show was significant for its location — Jean-Raymond’s home neighborhood — as well as Its venue, which has been said to be unsuitable for black people.
The trailer begins with a clip of former NBC “Today” show anchor Matt Lauer saying neighborhoods are still segregated and that when black people move to affluent neighborhoods, “The result is ‘white flight.’”
What follows is a behind-the-scenes look at the show’s production with models in hair and makeup, the band rehearsing and voiceovers from Jean-Raymond. He recalled a conversation with an editor in the trailer, who said, ‘You know, I’m not coming to any more of your shows. They’re just so negative.’ And I was like, ‘You can’t see that this is for us? This is for us to see us.’”
The film explores what went into the show’s production, which serves as a backdrop to the greater discussion of the black experience in America.
“It’s always been our mission to show the amount of thinking and laboring that goes behind putting together a collection — we’ve been slowing down the speed of how much we produce and improving the quality of what we produce throughout the years,” said Jean-Raymond. “This film aims to show the love and care our entire company puts into every single moment we create and will show that we appreciate fashion as an art form and communication tool.”
The series itself highlights black people In American culture, the first of which centered around the cowboy, initially a derogatory word used for black people who herded cattle that debuted at Spring Studios in February 2018. The next, an ode to the black family, debuted in September 2018 at Weeksville Heritage Center in Brooklyn, one of the United States’ first free black communities.
The third installment, at Kings Theatre, is about Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the matriarch and pioneer of rock ‘n’ roll music.
Jean-Raymond is premiering “American, Also” during the lockdown as a way to bring the community and New York City together, and also to engage with his fans. It will also be available to the public.
He said in November that he sees the future of fashion as “experiential” and thinks fashion is going to move from clothing to content. “Clothes are going to be the bottom of their balance sheet,” he said.
The designer has been exploring the arts for some time. He held a private screening for the campaign of his first American, Also collection, and last April debuted the “Seven Mothers” film by Director X at his pop-up shop in SoHo. He also directed the music video for rapper Wale’s single “Sue Me” featuring actor Lucas Hedges that premiered in April.
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