Kerby Jean-Raymond, the designer behind the New York-based brand Pyer Moss, will step down as global creative director of Reebok on March 1, with a final Reebok by Pyer Moss collection due out later that month, per a statement he released Thursday morning.
The designer’s exit comes less than 18 months after his appointment in September 2020, and will just precede the anticipated final inking of Reebok’s acquisition by Authentic Brands Group, which purchased the brand from its former parent company Adidas in August for $2.5 billion. Reebok struggled to thrive under the massive Adidas umbrella; ABG, meanwhile, is known for acquiring flailing brands including Brooks Brothers, Forever 21, and Juicy Couture. Last week, Reebok announced it would lay off 150 employees in advance of the final deal.
“We want to sincerely thank Kerby for his many contributions to Reebok,” Reebok president Matt O’Toole said in a statement. “The positive impact he has made on the brand will be felt for years to come. We wish him the very best.”
“I enjoyed my time with Reebok and wish the company well in all of its future endeavors,” said the designer.
Jean-Raymond began collaborating with Reebok back in 2017, producing hotly anticipated collections of bulbous, mind-bending, and ultimately prophetic sneakers (many designs were literally called “Experiments”). He was previously named artistic director of Reebok Studies ___, a program centered on creating special projects in collaboration with designers and celebrities, as well as growing the brand’s roster of young, up-and-coming talent. The announcement of his creative director appointment in 2020, just weeks after he won the CFDA top prize for American menswear designer of the year, also included the nugget that he would head up Reebok’s social justice-minded “Product with Purpose” initiative; earlier that summer, Jean-Raymond partnered up with French luxury group Kering to launch “Your Friends in New York,” an incubation and support platform for emerging creatives. Last summer, during his Reebok tenure, Jean-Raymond also became the first Black American designer to present a haute couture collection during Paris Couture Week, which paid homage to Black ingenuity and invention.
Prioritizing and celebrating community has always been a throughline in Jean-Raymond’s work, and it’s possible that, for now at least, Pyer Moss may enjoy a more specific scope in line with its local ethos. In December, the brand dropped a collection celebrating its position as “a small couture business” based in New York; on Instagram, Jean-Raymond doubled down: “Very small business.” And insofar as someone’s Instagram Story can be a window into their thoughts, Jean-Raymond’s posts from the last 24 hours may mean something, or nothing at all: among them is screenshot of a tweet that reads, “Being ‘delusional’ with my goals has been the best thing for me lol somehow all my delusions came true”; another is a Spotify “now playing” screenshot of the Nas song “Money Over Bullshit.”
A year before his Reebok creative director appointment, in September 2019, Jean-Raymond told GQ that his aim while stepping into big-title roles within the fashion establishment—at Reebok, or on the board at the CFDA—was “to reach down, or reach vertical, instead of reaching back.” There’s always a next move.