’Tis the season for New York’s fashion industry to unite.
With New York Fashion Week for the Spring/Summer 2021 season beginning this weekend, it will be the first time for many players across the fashion industry to reconnect in person or online following the past six months of uncertainty brought on by a global health crisis, civil unrest and economic breakdown.
A new initiative by New York-based designer Kerby Jean-Raymond and luxury conglomerate Kering, however, aims to relieve some of the hardships designers encounter by building a sense of community.
The Pyer Moss designer announced this week the creation of Your Friends in New York (YFINY), a platform designed to empower the next generation of creatives. YFINY will “merge fashion, music, art, philanthropy and wellness to form an eco-system of creativity that reimagines how consumers discover and interact with brands.”
“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.
After meeting with Jean-Raymond in 2019 to discuss the idea, Kering chairman and CEO Francois-Henri Pinault signed on for the company to support the program as a partner.
YFINY was set to launch in March with a personal donation from Jean-Raymond as part of the organization’s mission to aid marginalized communities impacted by the pandemic. But due to the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic globally, the announcement was put on hold. Kering has since aided YFINY’S Covid-19 relief efforts with a supporting donation.
“When I met Kerby in 2019, I was impressed by his unique perspective of creativity, innovation, business and social issues,” Pinault said in a statement. “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.”
Multiple divisions will make up YFINY, including an event and experiences arm, philanthropic initiatives, a merchandise label and an incubator-inspired program that will enable diverse emerging designers to grow and explore disruptive new business models.
Moving forward, YFINY plans to continue to focus on pressing issues in local communities, including but not limited to providing mental health services for children and residents of public housing primarily.
Additional details on each program under YFINY will be made public in the coming months.