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​Fashion Label Pyer Moss Brings Black Lives Matter Back to the Runway

Designer Kerby Jean-Raymond brought issues beyond the runway to his New York Fashion Week show.

by Jonathan Gardenhire
Feb 17 2016, 6:13pm

A model holds up Black Lives Matter activist MarShawn McCarrel's last tweet in the Pyer Moss NWFW show. All photos by Jonathan Gardenhire

On Saturday afternoon, designer Kerby Jean-Raymond's Pyer Moss fashion label unveiled its fall/winter 2016 "double bind" collection. Kerby presented a collection of oversized shearlings, leggings underneath matching shorts, patterned puffy overalls, and statement shirts with phrases—"You don't have any friends in LA," for example—in small, black print that disparaged the City of Angels. The Erykah Badu-styled runway presentation physically manifested its theme in the way the singer wrapped two pieces of white masking tape around the models' boots and in the parallel lines that appeared throughout the collection.

The event also continued Kerby's use of fashion as a way to highlight issues that extend beyond the runway. In an effort to spotlight depression, Jean-Raymond opened the presentation with a choir of opera signers dressed in white Pyer Moss–designed hospital gowns, who made an aria out of Future's " Trap Niggas." The models also wore hats with prescription drug labels like "Xanax" and "Oxy" pinned on them. As the choir continued to create operatic trap music, a model dressed in a matching powdered blue jacket and pants closed the show by protesting down the runway holding a white sign that read in bold, black lettering: "MY DEMONS WON TODAY IM SORRY."

The moment represented a double entendre. It evoked the sad reality that depression sometimes leads to suicide. It also represented a clear continuation of the label's spring/summer 2016 Black Lives Matter theme. The words on the sign alluded to the recent suicide of MarShawn McCarrel, the Black Lives Matter protester who shot and killed himself on the steps of the Ohio Statehouse. The scene was a chilling reminder that, for Pyer Moss, the clothes truly are about making a statement.

Below, check out backstage pictures from the fashion presentation, which includes the queen of neo-soul's debut as a fashion stylist.

- Antwaun Sargent

Kerby Jean-Raymond backstage at the Pyer Moss NWFW show

Stylist Erykah Badu backstage at the Pyer Moss NWFW show