This morning, Kerby Jean-Raymond and Kering — the French luxury conglomerate behind Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, and Alexander McQueen — announced a new platform “designed to empower the next generation of innovators.”
Called “Your Friends in New York,” the platform is a new kind of creative ecosystem within the industry that merges music, art, philanthropy, wellness, and of course, fashion. Backed by Kering, the Pyer Moss founder aims to “involve the community at large” and “continue to help others grow in the fashion and art space.” The platform’s operations is multi-pronged in order to execute the overarching vision. There’s an events and experiences division, an incubator program helping diverse emerging designers explore fresh business models, philanthropic initiatives, and a merchandise label.
Last week, Jean-Raymond told Cathy Horyn, the Cut’s fashion critic-at-large, that he doesn’t want to continue buying into a system that’s not working. He proposed that a company fund a group specifically for Black and brown fashion brands. “It means leveling the playing field. Not having to buy into these existing systems, but be able to have the resources to create our own systems,” Jean-Raymond told Horyn. “That’s what the end goal looks like to me. I don’t think asking [corporations] for scraps is the right thing. Instead of scraps, ask them for platforms.” And a platform is exactly what he’s trying to create with the support of François-Henri Pinault, CEO of Kering.
“When I met Kerby in 2019, I was impressed by his unique perspective of creativity, innovation, business, and social issues. What struck me immediately was his willingness to invent a new, singular model, freeing himself from the usual constraints of the fashion system,” said Pinault in a statement. “It was only natural for Kering to support this project that seeks to empower new artistic talents, to encourage the diversity of creativity and to give a voice to the younger generation of innovators.”
“Your Friends in New York” has been in the works since last year. It was quietly introduced to us in March 2020 when Jean-Raymond converted his office to a donation and production center for PPE to aid marginalized communities impacted by the pandemic. One of the ways that the platform will continue to aid local communities is by providing mental health services for children and residents of public housing. Additional details on each program will be made public in the coming months. As Jean-Raymond says in his Instagram post, “See you in the new world.”