Creative Director and Founder of LA-based fashion imprint Fear of God, Jerry Lorenzo sits down with Milk Studios for a special interview. Known for transforming traditional silhouettes into contemporary pieces accentuated with a layering aesthetic, Lorenzo has made strides in the fashion industry since Fear of God’s inception two years ago with the latest power move being a handpicked selection for Kanye West’s design team last year. Speaking on a variety of different subjects, Lorenzo covers how it all started, his recently released the Third Collection, and the relationship between high fashion and streetwear. Read select excerpts from the interview below and check out the full feature over at Milk Studios.
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 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.