Tahirah Hairston’s article today in The Cut, entitled, The Promise of Pyer Moss, landed like a bomb in the Fashion Community. In the piece, Hairston takes a deep dive into the life and legacy of Pyer Moss designer Kerby Jean-Raymond, detailing how the Haitian American New Yorker ascended from a broken home to the tops of the fashion totem pole, winning a CFDA Award, coming under the tutelage of Kering’s Laurent Claquin, securing millions in funding, and ultimately becoming one of the most celebrated Black Designers of our generation.
Apparently Jean-Raymond has also not been the best at business development or management. He recently laid off most of his employees, and consumers looking to purchase Pyer Moss clothes won’t have much luck. Several anonymous employees interviewed for the article insinuate that Jean-Raymond, instead of investing in creating collections, splurged on company trips, paid overdue bills, and created accessories that are still sitting on shelves.
While expertly researched, the story, published mere days before Black History Month and New York Fashion Week begs the question of “Why?” Why him? Why Now?
The motive for this exposé is unclear, and the timing is unfortunate. Besides, Jean Raymond isn’t the first designer or business owner to stumble, make bad decisions, or lay off workers. In response to a comment by @Carlos_Santiago on @TheCut, saying “Remember Miguel Adrover anyone?…. Sounds like the same story,” @blessedwithbassets responded, “I feel like this is not the only designer out there who had a quick rise and then just kind of…went nowhere. Why zero in on this one particular story? I feel like this has been happening in fashion for decades. Not everyone who experiences early success makes it over the long run.”
Indeed. Spanish designer Miguel Adrover, who once, “shot like a glistening comet through the New York Fashion Scene in the aughts,” according to Vogue, doesn’t have a fashion line to speak of now. Famed designer John Varvatos declared bankruptcy in May 2020, and listed more than $140 million in debt in court filings after laying off 76% of his staff. Industry darling Zac Posen shuttered his business in 2019 after 18 years and receiving the CFDA’s Perry Ellis Award and being named Designer of the Year by Women’s Wear Daily and Variety Magazine. People falter and fail all the time in fashion. And to our knowledge, Pyer Moss is still in business (though it may be on hiatus).
Running a business is not easy. And as a creative who has turned her hobby into an enterprise, it has taken me decades to learn how to be a leader, budget, and get it right (and I’m still learning). While others are given grace to flub and fail, this article has basically called Jean-Raymond a failure before his story is over. It also references a “notable level of anger and resentment,” within the black fashion community towards Kerby that we at Fashion Bomb Daily do not share.
Commenter @NiaAlexandra_ from @theCut said it best, “Let’s not forget that we are not entitled to an artists work. We are not entitled to understand the cadence with which their work is shared with the world. “ @YungChelly also made a great point, “White entrepreneurs are free to fail, learn, raise more money or move on, sometimes all of the above without personally charged think pieces and people applauding someone’s downfall. This is a systematic issue that the article failed to address. This harms current and future leaders and dreamers who although should not be free of criticism should be afforded the ability to fail, learn and grow especially in unprecedented times.”
What do you think?
Read the original article here.
*Kerby has deleted all posts from social media:
Stand by for updates.