New York-based label Pyer Moss showed spring 2019 in Brooklyn last week with a collection of men’s and women’s offerings that won rave reviews. The collection was a celebration of the black experience as viewed through the lens of Kirby Jean-Raymond, a CFDA-nominated native New Yorker who’s background is Haitian.
In a nod to recent events highlighting women people calling 911 on black people going about their lives, the collection included a t-shirt reading “Stop Calling 911 on the Culture.” Priced at $125, the t-shirt was available to purchase on pyermoss.com following the show with 15 percent of sales donated to The Innocence Project, an organization that exonerates the wrongly convicted.
None of the above was good enough for outrage Twitter where a commenter weighed in on the shirt with a comment that read, “This shirt is $125 with abolitionist messaging on it, shamelessly capitalizing off the deadly predicament the culture is in.”
While retweeted over 1,300 times, the label received support from multiple people who pushed back on the idea that a black designer can’t speak to issues of inequality impacting black people, as well as the idea that a $150 is too much to charge for a s designer t-shirt.
In response to the tweet, @wowiwrite wrote, “so nike can use serena + kaepernick as marketing tools to sell sneakers but a black designer is not allowed to use his art to reflect his experience as a black man + use the $$$ to donate + employ other black people?” to which the Pyer Moss account responded, “Self-hatred is so deep rooted and perverse. We won’t stop though. We’re building everything.”
Regarding pricing, Pyer Moss retweeted a thread that began, “People are freaking out about a $125 Pyer Moss top (really, y’all? Really?), so it’s time to explain economies of scale and why an indie designer CANNOT reasonably give you the prices that you see at H&M.”
In the end whether it was the Twitter dust up or the fact it was a really good t-shirt by a talented up-and-coming designer, the “Stop Calling 911 on the Culture” t-shirt sold out with a day or two of being listed on the site.
However, there are still “We Forgive You” t-shirts available on the site, priced very fairly at $125!
Check out the Twitter exchanges below.
This shirt is $125 with abolitionist messaging on it, shamelessly capitalizing off the deadly predicament the culture is in. https://t.co/JfpHG8V26h
— William C. (@williamcson) September 10, 2018
THANK YOU to everyone who purchased a “911 On the Culture” Tee. 15% of proceeds will be donated to The @innocence Project — an organization that exonerates the wrongly convicted.
— Pyer Moss (@pyermoss) September 10, 2018
Self-hatred is so deep rooted and perverse. We won’t stop though. We’re building everything. https://t.co/ZLA1Oap4Cj
— Pyer Moss (@pyermoss) September 11, 2018
— Pyer Moss (@pyermoss) September 12, 2018