June 23, 2020

Race in America: A Conversation with Lindsay Peoples Wagner and Kerby Jean-Raymond

As the Black Lives Matter movement heightens awareness of systemic racism, the fashion world is reckoning with its own problems of racial inequality and discrimination. Washington Post fashion critic Robin Givhan speaks with Lindsay Peoples Wagner, Editor-in-Chief of Teen Vogue and one of the only black woman at the helm of a major fashion magazine today, and Kerby Jean-Raymond, founder and creative director of Pyer Moss, about how to promote inclusivity and lasting, sustainable change in an industry notorious for entrenched racial bias.
Teen Vogue Editor-in-Chief Lindsay Peoples Wagner says she was given a lot of advice (including learning about tennis) in preparation for an interview with Vogue’s Anna Wintour, but Wagner ultimately decided she wanted to stay true to herself. “I had to be who I really am…I didn’t want to assimilate. I’m not concerned with being palatable for white people or any other people…what you see is what you get.”
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Pyer Moss Founder Kerby-Jean Raymond says his business suffered after he opened a fashion show in 2015 with a 12-minute video about police brutality called “This Is an Intervention.” He said stores cancelled his orders and that “people were publicly praising the work, but privately pressing the idea and what really showed there is that — as I suspected— the rally cries of Black Lives Matter at the time, and some of them even now, were for show.”
  • Jun 23
Pyer Moss Founder Kerby-Jean Raymond says after the 2016 election, people became a lot more emboldened and outwardly racist. “We have our racists among us in the fashion industry. You’re seeing images now, you’re seeing black face parties…a lot of the stuff we were enduring as young designers was covert.”
  • Jun 23
Lindsay Peoples Wagner
Editor-in-Chief, Teen Vogue
Lindsay Peoples Wagner is the editor in chief of Teen Vogue, a role she has held since October 2018. Peoples Wagner previously spent 5 years as an editor at The Cut and New York Magazine, a role she took following her time as the fashion market reporter at Style.com. While at The Cut, she won the ASME Next award in 2017, honoring outstanding achievement by magazine journalists under the age of 30 and wrote the critically-acclaimed “Everywhere and Nowhere: What it’s really like to be black and work in fashion,” that featured more than 100 people of color’s insights and perspectives on diversity in fashion (The Cut, Sept. 2018). More recently, Wagner was celebrated among Business of Fashion's 2019 BoF 500 and named to the 2020 Forbes 30 Under 30 list. Earlier in her career, Peoples Wagner spent two years as a fashion market assistant at Teen Vogue, where she returned after a stint at O, The Oprah Magazine. It was at Teen Vogue, where she began her career as an assistant working in the fashion closet under the founding editor-in-chief, Amy Astley. Peoples Wagner, who hails from Wisconsin, graduated from Buena Vista University with a bachelor's degree in art and journalism and currently resides in Brooklyn.
Kerby Jean-Raymond
Founder and Creative Director, Pyer Moss
Kerby Jean-Raymond got his start in the fashion in the industry at the age of 14. While attending the High School of Fashion Industries in New York, he began interning with Kay Unger. After 2 years working directly under the designer, he began working at Marchesa as the brand was launching. In 2013, after working in the industry as a designer and pattern maker for 11 years, Jean-Raymond founded his own label, Pyer Moss. Since its debut, Pyer Moss has amassed huge support internationally from global press outlets. Pyer Moss is sold at exclusive high-end boutiques worldwide. Kerby Jean-Raymond has been featured on the Forbes 30 under 30 list, Elle’s 7 Most Wanted Designer’s list, Crain’s 40 Under 40 list, has won the ADC Young Guns Award, the FGI Rising Star Award, Ebony’s Future 15 Award, and in 2018 Jean-Raymond was been nominated for The CFDA’s 2018 Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent. As a fine artist, Kerby Jean-Raymond’s sculpture “Aquos” was featured at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC for the “Is Fashion Modern?” exhibit.
Robin Givhan
Fashion Critic, The Washington Post
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