Kerby-Jean Raymond, Kering “Your Friends in New York”

Kerby Jean-Raymond has always emphasized the value in conscious creativity, frequently placing contemporary causes over mere fashion spectacle. As such, it should come as no surprise that Jean-Raymond’s latest initiative, “Your Friends in New York” — founded in partnership with Kering – is more than a fashion incubator; it’s a fully-realized creative platform able to simultaneously boost emerging brands and grant aid to marginalized communities.

Your Friends in New York (YFINY) was intended to launch in full back in March, but was instead curtailed so as to support “minority and women-owned small creative businesses” affected by the pandemic, bolstered by personal donations made by Jean-Raymond and Kering chairman and CEO, Francois-Henri Pinault.

Now, YFINY is set to expand into “multiple divisions including an event and experiences arm, an incubator inspired program, philanthropic initiatives, and a merchandise label,” according to a press release. YFINY will also cross over with Jean-Raymond’s Pyer Moss.

“It is important to me to create and work on ventures that are future forward, involve the community at large and that will continue to help others grow in the fashion and art space,” Jean-Raymond said in a statement.

“When I met Kerby in 2019, I was impressed by his unique perspective of creativity, innovation, business and social issues,” Pinault continued. “What struck me immediately was his willingness to invent a new, singular model, freeing himself from the usual constraints of the fashion system. 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.”

The coronavirus relief initiative was indicative of YFINY’s direction, which may simultaneously juggle pressing issues — including “providing mental health services for children and residents of public housing primarily.” — with aims of enabling the growth of young, diverse fashion brands.

“I feel completely responsible for all the lives that work with us,” Jean-Raymond told jeffstaple. “That’s the legacy we’re gonna leave behind; we’re not gate keepers, we’re gate openers.”

Keep an eye on Your Friends in New York’s social media pages for updates on the program, which will officially launch in 2021.

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