Reebok Will Not Renew Kerby Jean-Raymond’s Contract
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS — Pyer Moss‘ designer Kerby Jean-Raymond relationship with Reebok is coming to an end.
The designer revealed that he will depart as global creative director of the sports brand on March 1. That date is shortly after the Reebok acquisition by Authentic Brands Group (see it here) is expected to be finalized.
Jamie Salter, chief executive officer of ABG, told WWD that Jean-Raymond’s contract with Reebok expires at the end of February and the decision was made not to renew. “We could have renewed it, but we didn’t,” he said.
However, he stressed that the parting is amicable and he would be open to working with Jean-Raymond in the future.
“Kerby’s leaving on great terms,” Salter said. “We like him and we’re not cutting ties with him. If he has great ideas, maybe he’ll do a collaboration with us.”
But the focus for ABG once it finalizes its 2.1 billion euro acquisition of Reebok from Adidas at the end of this month is “to let Reebok be Reebok,” Salter said. “Reebok hasn’t been Reebok for a long time. It’s been under Adidas for 15 years and whatever they had that was good, Adidas took from them. Reebok was always an afterthought.”
He said that strategy was “exactly what Adidas needed to do” as the larger company, but it ultimately hurt Reebok. “As the new owner, we’re going to spend 100 percent of the time on Reebok and not share anything, starting March 1,” he said.
“Reebok has a very strong trajectory right now and there are a lot of iconic silhouettes that we need to bring back,” Salter added. In addition, “We will continue to bring in celebrity designers as part of our growth strategy.” Over the years, Reebok has worked with Ariana Grande, Cardi B, Victoria Beckham, Gal Gadot and others.
“We want to sincerely thank Kerby for his many contributions to Reebok,” said Reebok president Matt O’Toole. “The positive impact he has made on the brand will be felt for years to come. We wish him the very best.”
A Reebok spokesperson said Thursday that the brand had no further comment about whether Jean-Raymond would be replaced, but it did say the final Reebok by Pyer Moss-Collection 4 will be released in late March.
Jean-Raymond started working with Reebok on a co-branded footwear collection, Reebok by Pyer Moss, in 2016. In 2018, Pyer Moss launched its first collection with Reebok and in 2019, Jean-Raymond became Global Creative Director of Reebok Studios, a new division create to support emerging talent (see it here).
In 2020, he was named vice president of creative direction for Reebok (see it here), where he worked closely with the brand’s product, global marketing and development organizations to ensure consistency across all areas. He was also at the forefront of the brand’s Product With Purpose program, which is part of Reebok’s commitment to United Against Racism.
Also in 2020, Jean-Raymond and French luxury group Kering partnered on Your Friends in New York, a venture to empower and fund a new generation of creatives in all fields.
Pyer Moss was founded in 2013 by Jean-Raymond, who has used the medium of fashion to stir debate and promote social activism. Jean-Raymond has been a vocal proponent of social justice and Black empowerment, using his collections to tell stories about activism and to evoke dialogue. He won the CFDA’s Menswear Designer of the Year award in 2020 and the top prize in the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund awards in 2018. He was also Harlem Fashion Row’s Designer of the Year in 2020 and the first Black designer to win a spot on the Paris Couture Week calendar, but he has always followed his own rhythm with runway shows. A spokesperson for the designer said Thursday that, while Pyer Moss will not be showing during New York Fashion Week next week, he does plan to participate in the second half of the year.
Jean-Raymond’s name has also come up as a potential successor to Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton. His spokesperson had no comment on the rumor. Abloh, the founder of Off-White and artistic director of Louis Vuitton, died from cancer at the age of 41 in November (see it here). A spokesperson for Louis Vuitton said the company had no comment on the speculation.
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