Reebok, is attempting to up their involvement with diverse talent, especially after missing out on having Beyonce' as a partner. They have been making small strides, partnering with Howard University on an annual basis with a team in the School of Business. On Tuesday, it was announced that Pyer Moss' designer Kerby Jean-Raymond will become the Artistic Director of Reebok Studies__, which is a new division at the brand. The division will cultivate up and coming creative talent and ideas.
With this announcement, the 2017 Reebok by Pyer Moss will also be extended as well. This is a much needed and deserved partnership, as Jean-Raymond has had to Reebok by Pyer Moss collections sell very well and has also had numerous sneaker drops with the company that have sold out.
Reebok's VP of Creative Direction, Karen Reuther said, “He’s proven over and over again his ability to envision the future and how it can impact people in the planet. That to me is his superpower. He has this unique superpower in design that’s in perfect alignment to who we are as a brand."
Kerby had his sights on something like this back in 2017, when he first partnered with the retailer, putting an emphasis on the word partnership over just collaborating. Last year, he made it a reality when he pitched Reebok Studies__ to Neal Taylor, the interim head of Reebok Classics at the time. Reebok was not initially sold on the idea, so more meetings and flushing out of ideas had to take place. Since their contract with Pyer Moss was being renewed, they were willing to hear Kerby out and work with him through this.
Jean-Raymond said in an interview, “I felt like there was a lot of focus around general product and not enough focus on the themes and the fashion components that we know to be cool. I understood that to ask a company who was in motion with so many projects to sit and focus on other young designers was a lot for them, so I made myself available and said, ‘Let me start sending you new ideas'."
While Reebok Studies __ is the official name of the partnership, it was not the first, or even second choice from a laundry list of others. The underscores (__) in the name simply means that the group will be centered on subject at a time, in order to“uncover the human nature of things and show the importance of people’s lives and stories,” Kerby said.
He said, “I want to sign all the cool young designers. I want to give everybody a place to come and create good collabs and build partnerships with the company. I want to open the door. Sometimes you have to break through the window to open the door, so that was my intent."
The first Reebok Studies__ release is set for 2020.