Like most artists, designer Kerby Jean-Raymond wanted to tell a story during New York Fashion Week. However, Jean-Raymond’s story was a story of police brutality.
During Jean-Raymond’s fashion show last week, the Pyer Moss designer showcased clothing emblazoned with red paint resembling blood splatter and words like, “I can’t breathe” and shoes marked with the names of slain women. The clothing he featured was restrictive and reminiscent of bondage to represents the chains that Black individuals are held with. His point? To tell the story of so many Black men in America.
“If I’m going to be the Black designer,” Jean-Raymond said to Mic, “I’m going to tell it my way.”
During the powerful show, Jean-Raymond also debuted a 10-minute video featuring interviews with the families of Michael Brown and Sean Bell as well as video footage from the killings of Eric Garner and Walter Scott.
Originally, Jean-Raymond, who has been stopped-and-frisked dozens of times, was only planning on showing the video. However, after police officers held him at gunpoint last month (they mistook his hand injury for a gun), he knew he had to bring the realities of Black Americans to the runway to reach a wider audience.
“If you’re going to put me in this ‘Black designer’ category, at least let me tell a story,” he said to Mic. “I feel a little freer after this.”