Runway events have usually been a place for glitz and glamour, where stunning models strut their stuff and awe everyone. But a few designers prove that it is also a place to raise awareness and take a stand.
After garnering much appreciation for its menswear collection, Pyer Moss is debuting its womenswear range at the New York Fashion Week 2015. And while most of the debutantes would usually be nervous, making sure that everything is in place for the big day, designer Kerby Jean-Raymond has his heart in the right place.
Along with the much awaited and talked about collection, the designer is also set to showcase a short film, through which he intends to raise awareness and address the issue of racism and police brutality.
This comes in light of a series of incidents where the US police gunned down numerous unarmed black people, which includes Freddie Gray (2015), Eric Garner (2014), Michael Brown Jr. (2014) and Tamir Rice (2014) among many others.
Jean-Raymond explained that he was initially sceptical about the idea and believed that everyone would say that he is just another "political, black designer," but decided to go on with the plan as he felt that this way he could "at least control the conversation. I can say, 'well, I'm an educated black designer,'" he told The Washington Post.
The short-film has no Hollywood cast to boast of and is made on a small budget with the help of Jean-Raymond's friends. However, for the film he did reach out to a few people who have been affected by police brutality including Nicole Bell, whose fiancé Sean Bell was killed by a New York City police officers in 2008 and Wanda Johnson, mother of Oscar Grant who was killed by BART Police on New Year's Day 2009.
The talented designer also believes that this is the right time to showcase the movie, as the number of incidents has increased in the recent past. In fact, in 2015 alone 24 black people have been killed by the police, according to DallasNews.
"People only listen to me two times a year. I'll have other collections, but this thing that's happening right now in society is time-sensitive," Jean-Raymond told Refinery29. "There are 17-year-old boys being killed by grown men hired to protect a community."
The 28-year-old designer also explained that through the film he wanted to raise awareness about the issue and find a solution. "We wanted to have a conversation about finding a solution, not pointing fingers, and most people were on board."
Meanwhile, this is not the first time that the designer has a social message for his patrons. He is very well-known for his "They Have Names" t-shirt, which features the names of 13 unarmed black men, who were killed by police officers in the last few years. He also unveiled another t-shirt that features names of 11 women killed in similar situations.
Along with the purposeful film, we are also looking forward to the kind of designs Jean-Raymond has in store for the fashionistas. His menswear range is usually fun and quirky, and we hope the womenswear range is equally awesome.
The New York Fashion Week begins on 10 September and goes on till 17 September, 2015.