eric garner police video screened at new york fashion week catwalk show

Pyer Moss designer Kerby Jean-Raymond wasn’t sure he would even show clothes at the presentation focusing on police brutality against black Americans.

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Sep 11 2015, 4:20pm

Designer Kerby Jean-Raymond, founder of label Pyer Moss, chose to open his New York Fashion Week presentation last night by screening a 15 minute video highlighting police brutality against black Americans. Footage showing the choking death of Eric Garner at the hands of a police officer, from which the chilling phrase "I can't breathe" originated, and a 14-year-old girl being violently manhandled at a pool party earlier this summer, was shown alongside 14 other examples of police brutality and interviews with the family and friends of the brutalised.

Jean-Raymond told the Guardian that he wasn't sure he would even show clothes at the presentation, saying, "I was making a collection. I didn't know I was actually gonna show it… I was gonna kind of like hold up a mirror to the room with a video". The sporty tailoring shown at the Pyer Moss presentation was tagged live during the show by artist Gregory Siff, who wrote "Breathe Breathe Breathe" on clothes and the names of the dead on white boots.

Fashion and politics have a long, complicated, but occasionally fruitful history; creating fashion-activism can represent a fine line to walk, but it is an important one, Jean-Raymond believes. "For as long as I have this platform and for as long as people are going to listen to me -- I'm going to take a stand on something and this is something that is important to me," he told the Huffington Post.

The designer has made similar statements before, creating a T-shirt emblazoned with the text, "They have names", before a list of black Americans killed in situations with white police officers, designed for his team to wear during the brand's show last season. Conscious not to push product on the back of the #blacklivesmatter movement, the T-shirts were initially not going to be sold, but after four months of requests, the garment was eventually produced for retail.

@pyermoss