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Fashion Profile: Kerbito

Editor’s Note: We first profiled Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss in April when Mystique Boivert covered the fashion show of Haitian and Haitian-American designers hosted by the Ambassador of Haiti in the United States in Washington, D.C. Back then, his collaboration with Reebok was the talk of the town. Emerging from NYFW as one of the top designers and collections, Jean-Raymond is the talk of a whole lot more these days. - JJ.

Jean-Raymond gave the following interview with the New York Times at the beginning of August.

His Favorite Room: Between designing for Pyer Moss (which earned him a Council of Fashion Designers of America nomination) and collaborating with Reebok on a sneaker line, Mr. Jean-Raymond hardly spends a day at home, which for now is a rental in a cluster of high-rises on the Brooklyn waterfront. “What keeps me grounded while I’m here is cooking,” he said, showing off his favorite room – a gleaming kitchen with built-in fridge. “But I haven’t gotten attached to it.”

So you’re eating on the road these days? Too much. I’m trying to get a balance, man. Because I have been home this month (August) maybe six days. I spend most of my time at La Guardia Airport. It’s awful. My hope about moving someplace else or buying something is that I can start a project. Like build out a kitchen.

With your career on an upswing, do you feel you have to go for it right now? I do. For a while I gave up the concept of home. I gave up the concept of having things. That’s why you look around here, I don’t really have furniture. Besides those stools you’re sitting on, I literally have four pieces of furniture.

Where did you grow up? I grew up in East Flatbush. I’m from Brooklyn. (My dad’s from Haiti.) I drop by my dad’s house all the time. That’s where I feel home. I got my keys. I just walk in wherever.

What got you into cooking? Believe it or not for how skinny I am, but I used to be a bodybuilder. That’s when I started cooking because I had to make my meals. But recently, I cut down on eating meat. I watched that stupid movie on Netflix that ruined everyone. It changed my cooking habits because I was so used to cooking Haitian dishes like tassot de boeuf, jerk chicken and oxtail.

What’s your secret ingredient? Turmeric. I put turmeric in everything, especially breakfast. And pink salt. It’s a lot better for you than typical white salt.

What’s the significance of this Basquiat poster? That’s the original poster from the movie. It was one of the first things I bought on eBay. I cherish it. That’s the thing that’s been with me since my college dorm, my father’s house, it’s been everywhere. I just got to reframe it. It still has the same original frame from when I was 16 years old and poor. This interview originally appeared in the New York Times.

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