Who is Kerby Jean-Raymond? Pyer Moss designer becomes first black American invited to show at Paris Couture Week

Known for his love of showmanship and sneakers, we can expect a thought-provoking show from the designer come July

Kerby Jean-Raymond, founder of the label Pyer Moss, is set to make history this summer as the first black American designer invited to show at Paris Haute Couture Week.

Hand-picked by the notoriously particular governing body, Chambre Syndicale, Jean-Raymond will now join the ranks of Elie Saab, Chanel, Christian Dior, Valentino and Zuhair Murad at the highly anticipated autumn 2021 couture shows, which will take place in July.

The shows are expected to be held in front of a physical audience, for the first time since the onset of the pandemic.

Who is Kerby Jean-Raymond?

The Haitian-American designer started his fashion career interning for Theory and Marchesa, before acting as a freelance designer for Kenneth Cole, Badgley Mischka and Marc Jacobs.

He then founded his own label, Pyer Moss, in 2013.

Jean-Raymond quickly earned a name for himself by creating men’s and womenswear collections laced with references to police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement. His shows grew to combine video, music and spoken word recitals created by – and for – the black American community.

His clothes cite many references, from hip hop to architecture, to form bright, bold and deeply political outfits that resonate across generations. Despite the impactful messaging in his designs, Jean-Raymond also understands the power of putting on a good show; for his most recent collection, which took place pre-pandemic, he commissioned a singer, a live band and a full choir to accompany the models.

It was this intelligent blend of elevated streetwear and unflinching political narrative that made Reebok approach Jean-Raymond in 2018 to collaborate on a series of sneakers. The resulting award-winning Reebok by Pyer Moss collection was so successful, it prompted the brand to appoint Jean-Raymond as its global creative director in 2020.

In 2018, Pyer Moss was also nominated for the Council of Fashion Designers of America's (CFDA) Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent for its autumn / winter collection, and then later that same year it won the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund.

For many, however, a first introduction to the designer may well have come earlier this year, when US Vice President Kamala Harris famously wore a Pyer Moss camel coat to a Covid-19 memorial the evening before the US presidential inauguration.

Full details of Jean-Raymond's presentation at Paris Haute Couture Week will be released in June, when the schedule is made public. However, with his love of sculptural shapes and luxe fabrics, as well as his innate showmanship, and willingness to use his platform to raise social issues, there is no doubt we can look forward to a beautiful and thought-provoking show.