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Kerby Jean-Raymond and Kering are looking to empower the next generation of innovators. Today, the founder of New York fashion label Pyer Moss and the French luxury conglomerate unveiled the next phase of their Your Friends in New York (YFINY) partnership, a platform that launched quietly earlier this year when Jean-Raymond made an agile pivot by turning his studio into a PPE donation center and providing emergency grants for women- and minority-owned small businesses affected by the COVID-19 crisis, with partial support from Kering.
“It is important to me to create and work on ventures that are future forward, involve the community at large and that will continue to help others grow in the fashion and art space,” Jean-Raymond said in a statement.
Indeed, the designer has been at the forefront of building spaces that challenge the status quo. Since launching Pyer Moss seven years ago, Jean-Raymond has not followed the traditional fashion calendar, often presenting one collection a year. And he has consistently used his runway as a platform for a series of larger conversations about race, culture, and activism that put the Black Lives Matter movement front and center. He screened a short in which he interviewed relatives of police brutality victims before one show, and created T-shirts that read “Stop calling 911 on the culture” for another.
“When I met Kerby in 2019, I was impressed by his unique perspective of creativity, innovation, business, and social issues,” said François-Henri Pinault, CEO of Kering, in a release. “What struck me immediately was his willingness to invent a new, singular model, freeing himself from the usual constraints of the fashion system. It was only natural for Kering to support this project that seeks to empower new artistic talents, to encourage the diversity of creativity, and to give a voice to the younger generation of innovators.”
Philanthropy will continue to be an important goal of YFINY, with a particular focus on providing mental health services for children and residents of public housing. The release also describes soon-to-launch divisions, including consumer-facing events; an incubator for emerging talents in fashion, art, and music, at a time when many are leaving the Big Apple as a result of job scarcity; and YFINY merchandise.
“I always think about what my favorite creators are building in their homes and what problems they are trying to solve,” Jean-Raymond wrote on Instagram about the platform. “What are they passionate about, even when the world has titled them ‘successful.’ For example, what new sounds are Rick Rubin and Just Blaze experimenting with that they aren’t ready to share with the world? What inventions are Evan Spiegel and Mark Zuckerberg holding onto in their garage? What script is Spike Lee hoping to do that he doesn’t think will get supported? What’s Satoshi Nakamoto working on? For Elon Musk, during his early days building PayPal, his mind was on SpaceX and Tesla. — my mind has been here, and I’d like to introduce you to my venture ‘Your Friends In New York.’”
Concrete plans for how Your Friends in New York will operate are still being fleshed out. But with a leader like Jean-Rayomd and the backing of a powerhouse like Kering, the platform has the resources to really shake the system.
“We promise to be imperfect but always willing to try,” Jean-Raymond’s post continues. “Thank you François-Henri Pinault, Laurent Claquin and many others for taking this leap of faith. More soon. Thank you all and see you in the new world.”
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