What The Pyer Moss Loot-Out Sale Says About The Current State Of Fashion


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“Have you ever wanted to feel like a real-life criminal?” the sterilized voice asks. “This is your chance.” It was an introduction if there ever was one. On Monday night, the New York City-based fashion brand Pyer Moss posted a new Reel to Instagram. Following almost a year of near-complete silence, the clip announced a new warehouse sale, the second in the brand’s decade-long history. The name and theme: “The Loot-Out.” Cue the immediately polarized opinions.

“’The Loot-Out’ draws inspiration from the luxury fashion industry’s global decline, the burgeoning dupe culture, and the recent looting sprees in luxury stores across America,” the voice, seemingly created by AI, continues. The announcer speaks with clips of those recent lootings playing in the background. “How fun?”

Hosted on December 21 and 22, the sale will include unreleased apparel, footwear, archival collaborations, runway samples, and more. Shoppers will purchase time slots of either one minute or five minutes for $100 or $300 respectively, and will be allowed to keep whatever they can wear on their bodies at the end of their time slots. Phones, cameras, “haters and police” will not be welcome. 

It’s a shocking approach, one that blends something pretty standard for the fashion industry with an almost artistic aspect of social commentary. But that is par for the course for Pyer Moss and its founder Kerby Jean-Raymond; back in 2018 during a Fashionista interview Raymond said he wanted to establish the label as “more of culture than a clothing brand.” 

On one hand, the “Loot-Out” is a sample sale. We’ve certainly seen those before from luxury labels. And people have been jostled as shoppers “loot” the brand’s storage space for deals one could rarely imagine. Just a few months ago, Comme Des Garçons put on one of their much-anticipated archive sales. I was one of many who queued up for two hours before the doors opened and found myself shoved to the side after finally getting into the venue as others rushed to get their hands on pieces first. And any veteran sample sale shopper likely has a story about a contentious moment with a coveted piece that they had to get their hands on.

In ways, the “Loot-Out” is branding that same event—Jean-Raymond is saying the quiet part out loud and then gameifying the process. Welcome to the Supermarket Sweeps of fashion. It comes as the latest in a series of schemes by designers to sell their pieces and bring a level of excitement to shopping. Telfar is a definite leader here: taking over a Rainbow store for a rare in-person experience of their “Bag Security” program and later setting up a structure where the earliest buyers get the cheapest prices.

But, the forthcoming sale is also a cultural commentary. On social media, the move has been criticized. “Why would you do this or encourage this behavior? One comment reads. “Our culture is so backwards and upside down.” Another said, “Black people are not criminals, why is this funny?”

“So we promoting theft?!” reads yet another. 

At their core, these are questions about respectability. What will this make us look like? What will this do to perceptions of our community in this industry? Even if this is a commentary on the hype of the fashion industry now and the frenzy it inspires, and could be an examination of the theater this has bred, where one would put oneself in possibly physical danger for a pair of sneakers, is that artistic examination worth the visual?

But at the core of its brand, Pyer Moss has always asked why not: Why not open a fashion show with a self-funded short documentary about police violence against unarmed Black folks? Why not use the pages of your legal case in a fashion show partially inspired by Bernie Madoff? Why not use your first couture show, not to present a collection of clothes to sell, but instead a series of works that draw attention to inventions by Black folks? And to that point: Why not call a warehouse sale what it is? A looting.

Because it’ll ruffle some feathers? Because of what non-Black people might think? That hasn’t stopped Kerby Jean-Raymond in a decade, and probably won’t now. 

Jean-Raymond relaunched Pyer Moss before. In 2018, the designer bought back his label in full and set out in a new direction. To accompany this he wiped the brand’s Instagram and then uploaded clips of stars like Vic Mensa burning paperwork and others teaching fans how to pronounce the name. That was all a commentary on re-introducing the brand by way of forcibly taking back the label—controlling his narrative. There’s a world where the “Loot-Out” is similarly a commentary on the brand itself. Maybe Jean-Raymond believes this is how the brand has been treated: looted for its values and valuables at extremely discounted rates. 

If it is, it could signal a new era for the label. Following the prior rebirth, Pyer Moss put out some of its greatest collections to date with a multi-show series titled “American Also,” which synthesized a poignant message alongside covetable collections of clothing. If Pyer Moss can pull something off like that again it would be truly something to behold.


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