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Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss isn’t the first designer to decamp to Brooklyn—Eckhaus Latta have been showing in trendy Bushwick for the past few seasons—but he might be the first to bring Fashion Week to Weeksville. The neighborhood has a particularly rich and special history. Founded by James Weeks, an African-American man, in 1838, little over a decade after slavery was abolished in New York, it became one of the country’s first free-black communities. The Pyer Moss show took place in the grounds of the Weeksville Heritage Center, where four extant houses formed the backdrop. Moments before the lights when up on the runway, a gospel choir dressed in all white lined up on the grassy lawn. The resulting tableau was like something out of a Kerry James Marshall painting, conjuring serenity and joy despite the heavy gray rain clouds overhead.

Jean-Raymond had been pondering the current landscape of African-American life while making of this collection. He came across a copy of the The Negro Motorist Green Book in his research, a guidebook first published in the 1930s that served as a tool for black travelers in Jim Crow–era America, signposting restaurants and hotels that were relative safe zones from discrimination and establishments to avoid. “It got me starting to imagine what the African-American experience would look like without the constant threat of racism,” said the designer. He enlisted rising art star Derrick Adams to help bring his vision to life, commissioning 10 paintings that were woven throughout the collection. There was a painterly image of a young black man grilling burgers printed on a simple white T-shirt, and a black page boy and flower girl at a wedding on an oversize silk shirt. Easily the most touching portrait in the bunch, and perhaps the most exquisite piece in the collection overall, was a black father lovingly cradling his baby, rendered in glittering beads on a shift dress. “Just black people doing normal things,” was how Jean-Raymond put it.

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