Designer Kerby Jean-Raymond took his platform to new heights during New York Fashion Week by honoring the victims of police brutality with a bold, daring, and necessary new collection.
The Pyer Moss designer aired a 15-minute film before showing his new collection called “Ota, meet Saartjie” on Thursday. Interviews from the family members of Eric Garner and Sean Bell aired, along with stories of 14 other cases of police brutality against African-American civilians. Footage of police using excessive force on civilians was also included in the visual, according to the Huffington Post.
Jean-Raymond’s clothing followed, with designs inspired by the current “Black Lives Matter” movement.
The sportswear collection features army jackets with the words “breathe” on the back to honor Garner’s final words. “I Can’t Breathe” became a chant for protesters in the months following the father’s death last year. Other designs include white shoes and tracksuits featuring red spray paint to symbolize blood. The footwear is emblazoned with the names of victims who lost their lives to police brutality.
Jean-Raymond made the move towards a more activist-based show to raise awareness in the fashion world. As a victim of New York’s “Stop and Frisk” policy himself, the designer says criticism against police practices is more important than ever.
“For as long as I have this platform and for as long as people are going to listen to me — I’m going to take a stand on something and this is something that is important to me,” Jean-Raymond told The Huffington Post. “If one person walks out of here today and is just nicer, or gives an opportunity… there are so many influential people in that room upstairs. If one person decides that I’m going to give a black kid a job now because the narrative I’ve been seeing on TV of him being a thug may or may not be true, I did my job. I changed one life and one life might change another life — and that’s how the world changes. Little by little.”
Prior to the big reveal, Jean-Raymond faced a few troubles. Days before the show, he lost a buyer in Europe and his original venue pulled out over the increase in audience members. Despite this, his collection was well received by both the crowd and the fashion world as a whole.
Take a look at the show above.
SOURCE: Huffington Post | VIDEO CREDIT: YouTube | PHOTO CREDIT: Instagram, Getty
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