Jerry Lorenzo has long defined his conception of American luxury as an expression of freedom — the spiritual and physical freedom of wearing comfortable but smart, stylish clothing.
On Wednesday evening, Lorenzo put on his first runway show in what may be the culmination of his vision with 56 looks — including snippets of his partnership with Adidas — scored to classics in the canon of Black American music.
The fashion show in Los Angeles’ historic Hollywood Bowl opened with an Abolition-era gospel and ended with Ray Charles’ rendition of “America, the Beautiful.”
“I grew up with my dad telling stories of his grandma picking cotton… and I have the luxury where my staff brings me fabric books and get to pick and choose the cotton that we use,” Lorenzo told reporters backstage, after the show. “There’s a freedom and a responsibility that comes from a lot of pain, but more than pain it comes from love.
In addition to pieces from the Adidas collaboration, the collection Wednesday featured new categories — women’s footwear and handbags — as well as elevated everyday basics and tailored luxury staples that catapulted the label into mainstream popularity in the years following the pandemic.
On Wednesday, the brand showcased its consistent style with a range of oversized jackets, boxy blazers and double-breasted coats in Fear of God’s signature neutral tones. Clothing that reflects, in short, what Lorenzo said he himself would wear.
“There’s no intention of making a show piece,” he said. “Everything that we do goes through a specific lens and that lens is the same lens as when I was 5-years-old getting dressed.”
Between 2020 and 2022, Fear of God saw its revenue triple, in part driven by its more affordable basics line called Essentials, which offered soft hoodies and sweatpants at a time when many customers were working from home. Its higher-priced main line, demonstrated by the understated suiting in the latest collection, is emblematic of the “quiet luxury” trend at the forefront of fashion today, with understated details and a relaxed fit that signal a laid-back but refined sense of taste.
“We were in a great position when everyone wanted to wear sweats and jumpers, and we had reached a place where Essentials were strong enough and the machine behind that was able to suffice the market’s demand,” Lorenzo said onstage at BoF VOICES in December.
The designer has described his line as exuding both comfort and elegance. “You don’t have to be in a stiff suit to feel sophisticated,” he said. “I like to be the quietest in the room and I’m hoping that when someone wearing Fear of God enters the room that their individuality speaks louder than their clothes.”
Following its post-pandemic success, 2023 is hoped to be something of an inflection point for the label. In the coming months, Fear of God will launch the full collection of its partnership with Adidas, which was announced in 2020. The brand will also open its first retail location, a flagship store in its native Los Angeles. The store will house all three of Fear of God’s apparel segments: its luxury line, the Essentials diffusion brand and the Adidas co-branded apparel.
But scaling the business won’t likely happen at an aggressive pace, according to Lorenzo.
“Our brand is evolving authentically with selfishly how my life is evolving,” he said in November, pointing to the launch of a kids category after having three children with his wife, and the offering a rubber slip-on shoe as an upgrade from the bright coloured Crocs that used to litter his house.
“What I see for another 10 years is that we continue to make product that’s sustainable in the sense that you just want to buy into it once and hold onto it for a long time,” Lorenzo added.