Hennessy is set to launch in June its first-ever apparel collection with Pyer Moss by Kerby Jean-Raymond, MMT 140 x Pyer Moss for Hennessy, as part of its “Wild Rabbit” campaign.
The new campaign spotlights champion cyclist Marshall Walter “Major” Taylor, who was cycling’s biggest superstar in the late 19th century and helped pave the way for American athletes in subsequent generations and today.
Taylor was winning races at the young age of 13, made his professional debut at Madison Square Garden at 18, and broke two world records before turning 21. He also became the first African American world champion of any sport when he won the World Track Championship in Montreal in 1899.
The capsule collection draws inspiration from Taylor’s cycling career, featuring vintage activewear and gear like mock neck t-shirts and sweatshirts and cycling caps, and colors that reference Hennessy. Track joggers that feature details from uniforms during Taylor’s heyday and a modern cropped bomber jacket round out the collection.
In addition, a portion of the proceeds from the capsule collection will benefit the National Brotherhood of Cyclists (NBC), an association of affiliate cycling clubs founded by a group of national African-American grassroots cycling clubs.
“To tell Taylor’s ‘Never stop. Never settle’ narrative, I evoked the internal drive that pushed him to greatness, inspired by this idea that we’re each our own toughest rival and competing with yourself is the key to sustained success,” explained Pyer Moss designer Kerby Jean-Raymond.
“Throughout his career, Taylor challenged the racial prejudice encountered on and off the Velodrome, becoming a pioneering role model for athletes facing similar discrimination. A recognition of the champion’s legacy and the obstacles he overcame, the ‘MMT 140 x Pyer Moss for Hennessy’ collection is also an outlet to challenge similar themes still relevant 140 years after he was born.”
Kerby is no stranger to collaboration, having recently debuted a collection with Reebok, and partnered on sneakers with Greats. The designer is helping Hennessy tell Taylor’s story, alongside rapper Nas, artist, author and cycling enthusiast Kadir Nelson, BMX influencer Nigel Sylvester and road cyclist Ayesha McGowan.
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