Kerby Jean-Raymond, founder and designer of Pyer Moss, has been named the new global creative director for Reebok.
The appointment brings instant intrigue to a brand that's lagged well behind Nike and Adidas as sneakers and athletic apparel have become more popular than ever and a force within high-fashion. Jean-Raymond won this year's CFDA award for American Menswear Designer of the Year and has made activism central to his work at Pyer Moss. By hiring him, Reebok gets not only his award-winning design prowess, but adds one of fashion's most thought-provoking voices for diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism in space that's still overwhelmingly white.
From shoes to apparel, Jean-Raymond will oversee all designs for Reebok. And the products of his oversight won't hit the market until 2022, we're excited to see what is sure to be a more daring and outspoken approach to Reebok's offerings.
"I am thrilled to be evolving my role at Reebok and joining the leadership team as the head of Creative Direction," Jean-Raymond said in a statement. "I welcome this opportunity to help invigorate the brand with new ideas, while also focusing on instilling a sense of social purpose into our work."
Pyer Moss was already Reebok's best collaborator — Through Pyer Moss, Jean-Raymond has already been working with Reebok on a collaborative basis since 2018 and was one of the only reasons to pay attention to the brand's footwear. Each sneaker release has been numbered as an "Experiment," as the designer reconstructed existing Reebok silhouettes with vivid colors and more choice materials.
The most recent, Experiment 4, turned the Trail Fury into a much more aggressive and fashionable sneaker, complete with a jagged platform sole and a massive two-layered tongue housing a cinch cord lacing system. The idea behind it was to split a sacred object into three layers, with each representing a step of the process for those who achieve success for diversity. As the best Pyer Moss x Reebok collab yet, it should give us an idea of what to expect going forward from both a design and storytelling perspective.
"Kerby is a fashion visionary with a bold approach who has established himself as a leader and a passionate activist," Reebok president Matt O'Toole said in a statement. "We are incredibly excited about the impact he will have on Reebok from a design and brand perspective and for him to bring his unique voice and direction to the Reebok brand more broadly."
What he's done with his platform — Jean-Raymond founded Pyer Moss in 2013 and rose to prominence with his SS16 runway show that highlighted police brutality while referencing the Black Lives Matter movement. Since then, his collections have told the stories of Black cowboys, Black family life, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, a Black woman who has been under-credited as the creator of rock & roll.
As corporate brands still fail to put Black creatives in power and speak to the Black community, Jean-Raymond may just turn Reebok into the brand that finally gets it right while making some extremely cool shit along the way.