By Delfine Kernizan
September often draws fashion’s most elite journalists, editors, models, bloggers, celebrities and socialites to Manhattan’s trendiest neighborhoods. This season, one designer dared to take the upper hierarchy off of fashion’s island and across the bridge to the up-and-coming Brooklyn neighborhood of Brownsville. On it’s 5th anniversary, with every well-calculated decision, Haitian-American designer Kerby Jean-Raymond proved that his brand, Pyer Moss, had arrived to revolutionize fashion, for and with the culture.
From start to finish and from fashion to food, the Pyer Moss SS19 fashion show was a statement of Black culture. An all-black choir, dressed in white robes, sang spiritual hymns as adult and child models floated down in the runway in white pieces and afros like Black angels. “Be real Black for me,” sang the choir, urging a full, unapologetic and authentic representation of blackness.
The collection itself made an even bigger statement, featuring strong socio-political references, popular urban logos and instances of colorful prints, without compromising on grace, delicacy and sophistication. Amongst the flowing dresses, ruffled accents, pleated skirts, boxy button-ups and silky silhouettes, weaved in protesting pieces like “See Us Now?” belts and images of black fathers with their children.
Throughout the collection, Jean-Raymond transformed basic staples to fit the current racial landscape and reference recent events. A white t-shirt reading “Stop calling the police on the culture,” drew in an audible reaction from the audience. The collection also seemed to draw influence from fashion trends and styles of several decades and pivotal parts of black culture. Dresses resembling choir robes, quilted wrap skirts, asymmetrical hemlines, FUBU patches, monochromatic sets, bell-bottom pants, logo tees, beaded braids and a track list spanning decades.
With a soulful rendition of this generation’s Electric Slide, “Swag Surf,” and a transition into modern hip-hop hits, the choir announced the coming of a trendier, current style. Windbreaker jackets, heavy chains, crop tops, shoulder bags, elaborate headscarves, dad hats and dreadlocks followed, further proving the brands ability to reach across generations, religions, decades and trends of the culture.
The Pyer Moss SS19 celebration came full-circle in the most culturally-appropriate way — a cookout at the Weeksville Heritage Center where the show was held. The brand’s own designer Jean-Raymond, donned a white hoodie which read, “We brought you back home.” In a multifaceted and super-representation of black culture, history, art and fashion, in a neighborhood founded by African- American freedmen, and in Jean-Raymond’s hometown, Pyer Moss did just that. It brought us all back home. So if you’re just hearing about Pyer Moss, we forgive you.
The entire collection and SS19 runway show can be viewed on the Pyer Moss website, www.pyermoss.com.