Fashion

11.26.2014

Jerry Lorenzo's 'Fear of God'

With an MBA, former careers in baseball and the nightlife industry, and the cutest (and best dressed) family on IG, Jerry Lorenzo is also the founder and creative director of Fear of God, an iconic fashion label just barely two years old. Since its inception, he’s been reinventing basics and introducing new silhouettes with unique layering concepts. It was his attention to detail and strong personal aesthetic that also led him to be plucked up by Kanye West to be on his design team last year.

The newest Fear of God collection contains overcoats, stripes, zippered flannels, and garments made from authentic military twill cut from sleeping bags from the Vietnam War.

On how it all started.

I never had a purpose for a brand; I would never do a brand just to have a cool perspective out on clothing. I wanted to do something that also left you with a greater purpose or inspired you some other way besides clothes. I was reading this devotion with my parents and we were talking about how clouds and darkness were around God’s kingdom, and it wasn’t in a way of him being a dark God, but just understanding the depths of his kingdom—there’s layers to him beyond our understanding. I wanted to do something to communicate this dark side in a cool way, and inspire people about what I felt was my truth. It was a combination of that dark message and me believing in myself and my aesthetic… then I started putting pieces together, and risking my savings and my family on trying to start this brand.

On the Third Collection.

My aesthetic my whole life has been closer to the designs in this collection, which is like, “chic grunge”, if that makes sense. Like an effortless cool. The style is 90s inspired, but I wanted to communicate something that’s also really modern and can help lead the way to define the time we are in now. You can look at a movie, and no matter how it’s styled, you know what era it is because of the way the clothes fit. In the end, that’s what I’m trying to do – help define our times we live in now, with the silhouettes, the way the clothes drape, and the way people wear the pieces together.

On whether he considers Fear of God a streetwear or luxury brand.

I think it’s “street” in the way it came about. I didn’t go to fashion school, I don’t belong to a fashion house, I have no design background. It’s like a kid hustling mixtapes. You go downtown, you buy fabrics… you figure out the process. And so it’s street in the sense that that’s how it started, but it’s high end in the sense that I’m now using luxury fabrics, everything is made by the best sewers in LA, and everything is constructed to the highest-level quality. So you can look at it both ways, but I prefer not to fit in a box. I remember my first real retail job was working at Diesel and I wasn’t even cool enough to work on the floor; I was a stock boy. I’ll always remember that – it’s like I’m not supposed to be here. I didn’t really fit into the Diesel look at the time, and I don’t fit into whatever’s cool right now. I’ve just come to the realization that I’m the best at what I do. I’m not the best at fashion, I’m not the best at clothing – I’m the best at communicating my voice in the way that only I know how and that’s just what I stick to. Wherever that falls or however that’s categorized is up to people to decide.

On if he feels higher end brands have taken to streetwear influences, or if streetwear has become more elevated.

I don’t think about streetwear being elevated because I think that the higher ends have always taken from the streets. I don’t think that street has ever really changed. It comes from punk and grunge, it comes from a place of not having, so it has to come from a place of pure creativity. Where higher ends have all of the resources at their hands – they can choose a subculture, or choose a space of inspiration, and create around that with their resources… kids are wearing baggy flannels because that’s what they have. They’re cutting them up to give it their own feel or vibe. The purest form of originality comes from a place of not having, and that’s street.

After our interview, we wandered up Fairfax, the street in LA known to house a high concentration of streetwear brands. Jerry ran into a lot of familiar faces, and we got stopped at Crooks & Castles where he saw another old friend. He complimented their large pristine space, referencing his own current lack of a showroom and non existent sales/PR team, Jerry confessed he’d been rolling up to Barney’s, his current largest stockist, by himself, with his new pieces in a duffel bag as the only means to show off the new collection. Despite the overwhelmingly positive response to his line and his own personal success, it seems Jerry remains comfortable continuing in his hands-on guerilla style ways, keeping him humble, and close to the streets.

Fear of God is now available in 26 retailers. The Third Collection is shipping worldwide this week and can be found here (www.fearofgodla.com). Women’s and Children’s lines are in the works.

Photography: Koury Angelo
Production: Cathleen Cher
Production assistant: Esther Yoon

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