Over the weekend, Erykah Badu blessed New York Fashion Week goers with not only her presence but her style expertise during the AW16 Pyer Moss show on Saturday (Feb. 13).
But more than a moment to celebrate grandeur garments, Badu and Kerby Jean-Richmond, the brands designer, made it their mission to continue Moss’ message: fueling designs from pathos. While last year’s collection was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and the black experience contemporary America, this recent show was a continuation of bringing social and political issues to the forefront in the form of fashion. Entitled “DOUBLE BIND,” the collection was dedicated to those suffering from depression and mental health issues.
“I had the pleasure of styling PYER MOSS’ 2016 fall show. [Kerby] decided to focus on Depression as the theme of his show. I was focused on helping him communicate this,” Badu said in a Facebook post. “DOUBLE BIND, the title of the show, is a term that describes two conflicting ideas. Bi-Polar disorder or Depression is a subject that is discussed very little in our community and is over shadowed by what people would rather call ‘crazy.'”
“As Racism and sexism and genderism and prejudice take the main stage on our screens, perhaps, recognize that Depression may be at the very root of it all. Hurt people…HURT people,” she added.
During the show, a small choir sang operatic versions of Fetty Wap’s “RGF Island” and Future’s “Trap N****s. Models walked down the runway in autumn staples affixed with pins that read “xanax” and “oxy.” There was even a denim varsity jacket that read: “You don’t have any friends in LA.” The show closed out with a tribute to Black Lives Matter activist MarShawn M. McCarrel II, referencing his last statement he made before committing suicide last week: ““My demons won today / I’m sorry.”
When asked about being socially engaged and active through fashion, Jean-Richmond told Billboard, “In our culture, especially in black culture, it’s taboo to talk about depression, to talk about when things bother you. People say ‘man up,’ but that’s not a real diagnosis and I think that it’s important that we address it. Nina Simone had a great quote. She said: ‘How can you be an artist and not represent the times?’ And that’s one of the mottos that I live by.”