Good Works: While the Fashion Industry Is Shaken by COVID-19, Designer Kerby Jean-Raymond Offers Needed Relief

Kerby Jean-Raymond during New York Fashion Week: The Shows on February 08, 2020, in New York City.
Kerby Jean-Raymond during New York Fashion Week: The Shows on February 08, 2020, in New York City.
Photo: Dominik Bindl (Getty Images for NYFW: The Shows)

Not all heroes wear capes; some of them design luxury sportswear. Nevertheless, as the fashion industry struggles internally to adapt to the drastic sudden changes wrought by the spread of the novel coronavirus—including an abrupt end to international Fashion Month, the indefinite postponement of the Met Gala, and, as of Wednesday, the additional postponement of the CFDA Awards—Pyer Moss designer Kerby Jean-Raymond is turning his focus outward.


On Thursday, the CFDA-winning designer announced via Instagram that he is turning the New York City office of Pyer Moss into a donation center for the N95 masks and latex gloves desperately needed by medical personnel, as well as setting aside $5,000 to obtain those much-needed supplies until the current shortage ends. Raymond shared that he was compelled to act after “getting an influx of messages from medical professionals on the front lines, who have been treating this pandemic,” including a doctor friend in Philadelphia who revealed that she and her colleagues have been using bleach to clean and reuse their masks, and Jean-Raymond’s own sister, of whom he wrote: “My sister was exposed to COVID-19 and her elder patients’ safety has been compromised due to some professionals having to wear makeshift masks.”

In a subsequent post, Jean-Raymond, also a 2019 Root 100 honoree, revealed that Pyer Moss is setting aside an additional $50,000 for minority and women-owned small creative businesses jeopardized by the crisis. “If you cannot make payroll or cannot cover pressing costs to keep your business afloat, please reach out,” he wrote, adding, “let us know what you do and how we can help.”

Jean-Raymond captioned each of his posts “Imperfect Solutions”—but we’d argue that this may be the perfect response to the pandemic and resulting panic we are currently experiencing. Anyone in possession of brand new mail-packaged supplies of N95 masks and latex gloves is encouraged to send them to YOUR FRIENDS IN NEW YORK; 242 W 27th Street. 7th floor; New York, NY 10001. Those in need of those supplies—or women and minority-owned businesses in dire need of subsidies to sustain themselves are instructed to email:

Hopefully, Jean-Raymond’s generous gestures will help make philanthropy the biggest fashion statement of this and many seasons to come.

Maiysha Kai is managing editor of The Glow Up, host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast and Big Beauty Tuesdays, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. May I borrow some sugar?