Art Imitates Life: One Designer Chose The New York Fashion Week Runway To Address Police Brutality

Kerby Jean-Raymond, the 28-year-old founder of menswear label Pyer Moss chose his Spring 2016 runway show at New York Fashion Week to make a statement. Shedding light on the increasingly-public and ever-continuous issue of police brutality in America, Raymond took the #BlackLivesMatter route for his latest presentation.

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Marked by a 10-minute video featuring heartbreaking displays such as the killing of Walter Scott, the tackling of a young girl at a pool party in McKinney, Tx., and the choking death of Eric Garner, the Pyer Moss runway show was filled with imagery that highlighted the despair felt by those who have experienced – and witnessed – these recent tragedies. Bringing the subject into his designs, Raymond’s fashions featured dripping red paint to symbolize blood, straps and collars that symbolized bondage, and the Garner’s chilling last words that have now become a slogan for the movement, “I can’t breathe.” As the models walked the runway, sounds of gunshots rang out. Fashion tastemakers and family members of police brutality victims reportedly sat in the front row of the show.

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In an interview with Mic, Raymond admitted that he nearly didn’t even show designs, and wanted the show to consist of the video only. He later decided to go all-out, embracing the pigeonhole effect of being a “black designer.” He also told the Associated Press that the was necessary in regards to the times.

“I’m black, I’m a designer, I’m living in a time when this is happening,” he said. He added, “You’re 28 years old, you’re watching kids younger than you who are being killed by grown men who claim fear as an excuse.”

Watch a clip of the Pyer Moss Spring 2016 New York Fashion Week show below, and flip through photos from the presentation above.