Pyer Moss fashion shows have become cultural resets. For Kerby Jean-Raymond, the designer behind the brand, the fashion show isn’t just a way to showcase his clothes, but it’s a platform to spotlight his culture. That might not sound profound, but if you’ve grown up observing fashion shows, you know that Pyer Moss’ events and campaigns defy what the industry once posited as aspirational, which usually involved models with alabaster skin who were tall and skinny. But the Pyer Moss runway shows and campaigns present a beautiful tableau of Black life that consists of various skin tones, hair textures, heights, identities, and ages. 

Kat Mateo is responsible for casting the models who appear in these shows. She’s the person who selected the brown-skinned model with an afro wearing a white silk cape dress as she walked hand in hand with a Black child during the opening of Pyer Moss’ Collection 2 show, which took place in Weeksville, Brooklyn in 2018. She also selected the older, regal-looking Black gentleman with soft gray locs wearing a mint green jacket and crimson pants who walked the runway for the Collection 3 show, which took place at the Kings Theatre in Flatbush, Brooklyn in 2019. 

“Casting tells you a lot about the times,” says Mateo. “I feel like for such a long time, there was just this one way to do fashion, and we’ve been like, ‘Well, no. We can do fashion this way, and we can all feel high fashion. We can all walk these runways, and make it upper echelon.’ Just because we book people of color does not mean that our show is less than.  If anything, we add so much more magic to it.”