Just one day before Inauguration Day, incoming Vice President Kamala Harris attended a somber COVID-19 Memorial alongside her husband, Douglas Emhoff, and President-elect Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, held at the Lincoln Memorial. The ceremony, which was hosted by the Presidential Inaugural Committee, showcased 400 lights — representing the 400,000 Americans who have passed away from COVID-19 so far — around the Reflecting Pool.
In his remarks, Biden encouraged healing, saying that part of the process was to remember those who had been lost: "To heal, we must remember. It's hard, sometimes, to remember. But that's how we heal. It's important to do that as a nation."
And though she didn't speak at the event, Harris's coat, which New York Times writer Vanessa Friedman identified as a design from Pyer Moss, offered a subtle tribute to the nation's continuing struggles against the coronavirus pandemic.
"It's not about fashion. It's about values. At the COVID memorial on inauguration eve Kamala Harris wore a coat from Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss, a Black designer who worked to provide PPE and help to small businesses," Friedman tweeted. She added the designer of Jill's coat as well, saying that it was the "'Unity' coat and dress from Jonathan Cohen, a small NY designer" and that her mask was made from "leftover material."
Back in March 2020, Pyer Moss designer Kerby-Jean Raymond converted his New York offices into a donation center for PPE after his sister, who works in the medical field was exposed to COVID-19. He also pledged "$50,000 for minority and female-owned independent businesses in distress," WWD reports. Raymond also donated $5,000 to purchase supplies, such as gloves and masks, for distribution.
Footwear News notes that Biden's coat could be a subtle nod to her husband's goals of unifying the country. "Purple is oftentimes thought to be a symbol of unity as it combines the Republican party's red motif and the Democratic party's blue colo," the industry publication wrote. "The shade can also serve as a nod to the suffragette flag, supporting women's right to vote."
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