Laurent Claquin, the head of Kering Americas, called it “an investment in relationships.” He said that Kering put up a seven-figure amount (he declined to specify the exact figure), but he also said it wasn’t a material factor in Kering’s profit and loss statements. Neither YFINY nor the brands are considered part of the group.
Some of those brands were well on their way to making money, and others had essentially no income. But they all, Mr. Jean-Raymond said, had an identifiable “community.”
Take Everard Best, the co-designer, along with Tela D’Amore, of Who Decides War, another YFINY name. “He lives in Flatbush, he’s into anime, he’s into God, he’s into these cut-up, upcycled pants and all this crazy stuff, and I could never dress like that,” Mr. Jean-Raymond said. “But when you go to his shows, everyone looks just like him.”
Or take Ms. Mvuemba, and her decision to show in Washington, not New York. “Most middle-class affluent Black people come from the DMV area on the East Coast, and they are in no way, shape or form being talked to or being catered to by any American brands,” Mr. Jean-Raymond said. “She’s saying, ‘I’m going down there, and I’m going to be their Miuccia.’”
Originally YFINY planned to have an annual “festival,” like the Kings Theater show only much bigger, maybe over a few days, with fashion and music and wellness and tickets and merch for sale. Desiree Perez, the chief executive of Roc Nation, is on the YFINY board, and though the pandemic put those plans on hold, the company is hoping it may happen in the future.
In the meantime, YFINY has focused on infrastructure for the brands, including trademark protection, accounting and even therapy.