Kerby Jean-Raymond made history as the first Black designer to present at the Paris Couture Week.
Since his breakthrough presentation of Pyer Moss' Spring 2016 highlighted the Black Lives Matter Movement and police brutality, Kerby Jean-Raymond has been at the forefront of a new era in fashion. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native continued to break more barriers last year when he became Reebok's global creative director and won top awards back-to-back from the Council of Fashion Designers of America and Harlem's Fashion Row. In 2021, Jean-Raymond became the first Black American designer to present at the Paris Haute Couture Week. He used the historic opportunity to honor Black inventors and their creations, like the cell phone, air conditioner, lampshade, and traffic light. Even the venue for his Paris debut was a nod to Black trailblazers: the home of Madame C.J. Walker, the first Black female self-made millionaire. His bold vision for the show, called "WAT U IZ," reclaimed Black creators' space in the collective consciousness and fashion industry, where Black culture has long been appropriated with little acknowledgement to the brilliant Black people behind it. With Reebok, Jean-Raymond is embracing the freedom to move fashion forward with socially conscious narratives. "Can our mindsets collectively evolve to serve the future? Are we inclusive enough? Are we bold enough? Are we challenging tradition enough? Are we ready to unlearn? It's going to be difficult," he told Harper's Bazaar. "I'm ready, though."