RG Insights: Jerry Lorenzo

Jerry Lorenzo Manuel Jr. was born in 1977 to MLB player, coach and manager Jerry Manuel in Sacramento, California. He grew up in LA’s suburbs listening to grunge and hip-hop and got his start working in a Diesel stockroom while attending Loyola Marymount for business administration. After finishing his MBA, Jerry followed a familiar path to sports management, where he worked with LA Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, while also hosting a series of parties in LA under the name JL Nights, attracting rappers and athletes alike.

I think crisis is the birthplace of creativity. I think crisis is where creatives thrive. I’m trying to find my truth in that. I feel like I was most creative as a kid when I didn’t have any money. When I had to put outfits together and change the laces on my shoes to make them feel new.

- Jerry Lorenzo for Roden Gray

Lorenzo came across problems when styling Kemp, as many of the pieces he envisioned weren’t on store shelves. Wanting to find and create solutions for those missing links, Lorenzo turned to apparel production, funding his first venture with money from JL Nights. One of his early reworks was for an elongated tee, inspired by a Rick Owens original, but with changes to the neckline and sleeves that produced a more masculine shape.

His very first idea, a short-sleeved hoodie with side zippers was passed on to Big Sean by Jerry’s wife along with the reworked tee, soon catching the attention of Kanye West. Lorenzo was quickly added to Kanye’s creative circle, where he began to consult for West’s fledging collaboration with APC, while working on Yeezus tour merch and new products for Adidas Yeezy.

“Fear of God” would officially launch in February 2013 with 12 reimagined wardrobe layers that have come to define the label’s distinct look. The name comes from Oswald Chamber’s depiction of a lone God in his book, My Utmost for His Highest, tying in Lorenzo’s spiritual life and outsider role in the industry. He continues to ground himself in a solutions-based product approach, preferring to work off calendar while giving respect to conceptual designers like Raf Simons, Rick Owens and Ralph Lauren.

We don’t take the luxury of being able to put ideas out into the world lightly. We honour that opportunity... What’s necessary is how we use our creativity to uplift, encourage, and provide solutions for people.

- Jerry Lorenzo for Roden Gray

In 2015, Lorenzo launched “F.O.G.,” an essentials collection with PacSun, in an effort to bring his clothing to a wider audience at an affordable price point. F.O.G would launch with a Vans collaboration that stood as an accessible option to Fear of God’s popular Military Sneaker and Fifth Collection, which Lorenzo considers to be the best representation of his vision thus far.

After three years, an official distillation line directly from Fear of God was launched, simply named “ESSENTIALS.” This line takes a practical approach to basics, with recognizable earth palettes shaped into wearable, relaxed staples. Launching soon at Roden Gray, California Winter ’20 by ESSENTIALS follows a successful Fear of God collaboration with Ermenegildo Zegna, and is set to precede Jerry Lorenzo’s anticipated Seventh Collection, which is slated to release soon in the upcoming year.

Is it cool because it’s hype but when time flies by, I’ll be stuck with it? Or is it something that transcends time, something that I can stand behind and know will move now, or even months from now. Creatives need to make sure they really believe in what they’re putting out in the marketplace. If it doesn’t move, at least you put your belief into it.

- Jerry Lorenzo for Roden Gray

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