Kerby Jean-Raymond

Pyer Moss designer Kerby Jean-Raymond will be expanding his international profile in July when he presents his first haute couture collection in Paris as an invited guest designer of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture.

It’s historic news. Jean-Raymond is the first Black American designer invited by French fashion’s governing body to join the couture collections.

(Another Black American fashion trailblazer in Paris was Patrick Kelly, of course, who was the first American member of the Chambre Syndicale du Prêt-à-Porter, the governing body of ready-to-wear.)

Speaking of which, Jean-Raymond also recently revealed he will return to New York Fashion Week in September to present his first rtw after a two-year break.

One of American fashion’s most vital voices, Jean-Raymond’s work has tackled issues of police brutality and the erasure of Black contributions to pop culture, and redefined the American dream. It will be interesting to see how he uses his voice for social change on an international platform as vaunted as the haute couture.

At the opening of Paris couture week in July 2020, Naomi Campbell addressed the issue of racism head-on, taking the fashion industry to task for inequality while wearing a T-shirt with the slogan “Phenomenally Black” from the brand founded by Vice President Kamala Harris’ niece Meena Harris. The speech was posted on the Instagram of the Federation, as a precursor to the digital shows, and Campbell spoke passionately about the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests following the murder of George Floyd by Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin.

This season, the Paris couture shows have been cleared to go live following digital editions during the pandemic. Further details on the Pyer Moss show will be released in the coming weeks.

Pyer Moss was founded in 2013 in New York by Jean-Raymond, who has used the medium of fashion to stir debate and promote social activism. Breaking with the seasonal schedule, the collection is produced and sold in limited editions. In 2018, Pyer Moss launched its first collection with Reebok and in 2020, Jean-Raymond became global creative director for the brand.

Also in 2020, Jean-Raymond partnered with French luxury group Kering on Your Friends in New York, a venture to empower and fund a new generation of creatives in all fields.

His clothing has been worn by a number of celebrities, including Tracee Ellis Ross, Issa Rae and Michelle Obama, and it’s a sure bet Pyer Moss will be a presence at September’s Met Gala, which will cap off fashion week by celebrating two museum shows. “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” opening Sept. 18 will focus on contemporary American designers, and “In America: An Anthology of Fashion” opening May 5, 2022, will celebrate 300 years of fashion history.