In Anticipation of Pyer Moss’ First Bag Collection

In Anticipation of Pyer Moss’ First Bag Collection

Since stepping on the New York fashion scene, Kerby-Jean Raymond has been a force to be reckoned with. His ever-present commentary on the African-American experience in the US, coupled with his unique work with materials and patterns, has made him a standout season after season and opened doors for him that have historically been closed to designers that look like him.

In the last few years, he’s worked on a limited-edition sweatshirt with the Met, collaborated with Reebok on four collections, and most notably became the first Black American designer to be added to the couture calendar with an unforgettable show. It might seem like they’ve hit their stride, but by the looks of it, Pyer Moss is just getting started.

Last week on Instagram, Jean-Raymond announced that the brand would release its first bag collection this month. The post showed their first-ever billboard up on Flatbush Avenue, where he grew up, and teased a piece from the upcoming collection. Even though, in the past, Pyer Moss has exclusively sold clothing, this isn’t their first time diving into the accessories game.


Jean-Raymond came out of the gate using his collections as a means of activism, and his Fall 2016 show embodied everything he’s about. As the Black Lives Matter Movement was gaining momentum, he sent models down the runway with badges pinned to different items of clothing, with the words’ Acid’, ‘Booze’, ‘Prozac’ and more on them. Mostly fixed to commander caps, typically worn by members of the army, they were a nod to the ongoing battle between African Americans and the systems around them, specifically the police.

The pieces also referenced the mental health crisis after the suicide of BLM activist MarShawn McCarrel, the last model holding a placard with his final words, “My demons won today, I’m sorry”. As always, the show was a poignant reflection on the Black experience in America, with the accessories giving a closer look at the weight of fighting injustice on Black activists.

Giving New Life to the Cummerbund

Another traditionally formal accessory, Pyer Moss has switched up the cummerbund, putting Kerby’s unique spin on it. The iconic SS/19 show with the famous gospel choir in all white was the brand’s way of discovering what Black life would look like if it hadn’t been under threat since its first appearance in the Western world.

Taking an accessory made popular by British military personnel stationed in colonial India to exploit POC and using it to add to his theme of Black visibility in fashion and beyond with the words “See Us Now?” stitched across it, is what makes Kerby an elite designer.

If that wasn’t enough to make you sit up and pay attention, the cummerbund was featured in the second look of the SS/20 show in hot pink with an answer to the previous question: “You See.”  

Honouring Black Music History

Taking fashion week to its hometown of Brooklyn, Pyer Moss dedicated its show to the history of Black music. Honouring the defiance of Black music, from its roots on plantations, the church, and the unsung heroes of rock ‘n’ roll, each detail of each look embodied the words spoken at the start by author Casey Gerald: we are free.

Accompanied by another choir, the accessories showed how, over centuries, music had been used as a form of respite and expression for African Americans. Piano bumbags, guitar crossbody bags and emblazoned boots with the Pyer Moss logo all served as a reminder of how music, fashion and art have been necessary outlets allowing people to create beauty in the midst of hostility. One of the most distinct looks of the collection were the thigh-high boots created in collaboration with Aurora James, founder of Brother Vellies. The printed boot featured artwork of legends like Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the godmother of rock ‘n’ roll by the recently exonerated artist Richard Phillips.


Staging his first couture show in what was a game-changing moment for Black fashion designers everywhere, Jean-Raymond’s ‘WAT U IZ’ didn’t disappoint.

Held at the home of the first Black female, self-made millionaire, Madame CJ Walker, the show highlighted inventions made by Black creators in the most flamboyant way possible. A supersized beaded lampshade walked down the runway with a ruched soft pink dress in honour of Lewis Latimer’s electric lightbulb, Solomon Harper’s thermal hair curlers adorned a model from head to toe, and a belt fitted with a tailored suit represented the invention of the typewriter by Christopher Sholes.

Even though they’re not exactly accessories, they’re perfect examples of how Pyer Moss honours Black history while keeping it playful and thoughtful- something we’re sure this new bag collection will do.