Why Reebok Studies_ is Important for Young Black Designers
With Kerby Jean-Raymond taking on the role as Artistic Director, what does Reebok Studies_ mean for young designers, specifically Black?
Yesterday, HYPEBEAST released a press announcement on Kerby Jean-Raymond becoming the Artistic Director of Reebok Studies_, a new division focusing on creating a product development platform for underrepresented designers. The idea for the new division was pitched to Reebok by Kerby in 2018 and was solidified after the confirmation of a contract extension for the Reebok x Pyer Moss partnership. With the footwear brand’s new division, Kerby’s mission is to develop new opportunities for young designers with aims of building cultural narratives through product and marketing campaigns.
In the interview with Nia Groce, Kerby states, “I want to open the door. Sometimes, you have to break through the window to open the door, so that was my intent.” With his almost 6-year old fashion brand, Kerby is infamous for developing social narratives and illustrating the stories of humanity through his product and fashion campaigns for Pyer Moss. Not only does he have a strong stance on storytelling and conceptuality, he also strives to develop a rapport within his community. From introducing the Fashion Week audience to the Black historic Weeksville to opening up his home studio to the public for a Collection II campaign, Kerby has now positioned himself in a place where he can continue to create a familial bond with his community by opening doors for young designers to work with a well-established footwear brand.
Racial diversity and inclusion is still, very much, lacking within the fashion industry; brands are literally hiring specialists to assist offices with recurring issues of inclusivity. It’s struggling so much so Black talent have gradually began to build their own doors and develop their own tables in efforts to create opportunities for others to sit. As a brand, Pyer Moss is known for reshaping the image of Blackness as well as promoting inclusivity; the designer has plans to continue focusing on these ideologies with Reebok Studies_. Thus, this new initiative with Reebok gives young designers not only the area of opportunity to be recognized for their skill set, but also the chance to conceptualize cultural stories worth telling.