What is The Meaning Behind Fear of God brand? Everything You Need To Know About Fear of God

His L.A. label made him a streetwear king, but his current collection is different. He’s close to becoming the next Ralph Lauren. Jerry Lorenzo was in Paris when he met Barneys’ then-important buyers. Lorenzo had just started a clothing brand he called Fear of God, but he didn’t yet know how fashion houses and aspiring fashion houses operated. Men’s and women’s collections are issued only at a few agreed-upon times a year. When he saw the executives at Barneys, he immediately offered to show them his garments, but he’d missed his window: “They said, ‘Well, it’s not our buying calendar, currently, but we can meet you in New York in a week or so if you just want to show it to us.’ ” A polite meeting. Unfazed, Lorenzo answered, “Okay.”
He was known for throwing parties in Los Angeles at the time. T-shirts, sweatshirts, flannels, and tank tops with exaggerated vertical proportions looked like streetwear, a disparaging name for the casual trend that was just forming and has since engulfed men’s fashion. Virgil Abloh introduced Lorenzo to the Barneys buyers when he was developing Off-White and working for Kanye West. Abloh was taken less seriously at the time, he told me, referring to their “streetwear” label. Abloh remarked, “To label it streetwear is to say: That’s not fashion design.”
After Paris, Lorenzo wasn’t sure if his work was fashion design, but he exhibited it to a department store nevertheless. How should things be done? Lorenzo was unaware. Barneys believed in the clothing, which channeled The Breakfast Club, Kurt Cobain, and Lorenzo’s wandering American childhood. The retailer bought the collection on the spot, despite what they’d told Lorenzo in Paris. “I knew then I didn’t need to play,” Lorenzo stated.

Barneys bought five of his collections over the next six years as his reputation developed. On Abloh’s recommendation, Kanye West engaged Lorenzo as a design consultant. Their partnership spanned West’s Yeezus tour, his debut collection for A.P.C., and Yeezy seasons one and two. Jay-Z, Rihanna, and John Mayer donned Fear of God, and some pieces and silhouettes became ubiquitous, replicated by everyone from Lorenzo’s contemporaries to Zara and H&M. Jared Leto, who modeled for Fear of God’s sixth collection, said, “He’s a pioneer in premium streetwear.” His work goes beyond that.
Fear of God was formerly part of a trend—”luxury streetwear”—but as the business has transformed, Lorenzo’s garments have become mainstream. Fear of God endures after Barneys and much of the old establishment disappeared. Lorenzo half-jokingly blamed us for Barneys’ demise. Fear of God, Off-White, and other brands formed by Black designers that merged streetwear and high fashion were gate-crashers when they started, but they were talented gate-crashers. Their success opened the door for hundreds of other streetwear firms and designers, most of whom lacked creativity and ambition. Lorenzo claimed retailers like Barneys assumed what he performed was easy or repeatable by someone who looked like him. “Barneys proceeded in this way, like ‘Oh, there must be so many other companies like this,'” Lorenzo remarked. “No, there isn’t. This room has some strong opinions. After we broke through, all kinds of brands came in. I thought, “Perhaps we indirectly killed Barneys.”
Tattooed and gorgeous Lorenzo told me this story in Fear of God’s temporary headquarters in downtown Los Angeles, where the firm is building a permanent facility. He sat at a huge table surrounded by his latest collection. Fear of God utilizes a few Italian manufacturers to make tailoring and knitwear, but most of their clothing is made in Los Angeles at 13 separate factories. Lorenzo chose to remain in America in Southern California. Abloh moved to Europe, the traditional fashion powerhouse, after Off-success. White’s So did Matthew Williams, currently the creative director of Givenchy. Lorenzo remains. Partly, he told me, this is because “in my heart of hearts — and this is maybe the Blackness in me — I’m not really wanted there anyway.”
Lorenzo has stayed in America because of his ambitions. “My strengths aren’t in artistic, conceptual fashion,” he said. “How do you make sophistication everyday?” Fear of God may have looked frivolous or rarefied at first, but Lorenzo had broader, more universal goals. He told me he wants to create clothes for everyone, like Ralph Lauren. “That’s it,” Lorenzo said.
Lorenzo believes this despite the vastness of Ralph Lauren’s empire. He feels his distinctively American upbringing makes him the candidate to succeed the most renowned American fashion designer of the previous 50 years. Lorenzo informed me Lauren had an American perspective. Now, 50 years later, the world is more diverse and style clues are everywhere. Whereas his stylistic cues came from one group or one desire, mine come from a wider range of American aspirations.”

Lorenzo puts out a new Fear of God collection when he’s ready, once a year or so. His seventh collection features jeans, sneakers, and a graphic ode to the Negro Leagues, but for the first time, it also includes upgraded knitwear, louche suiting, and loafers: casual but well designed items to be worn inside the gates.
Since its August debut, the collection has been hailed as a breakthrough—”a punctuation mark between ’emerging’ and ’emerged,'” as Vogue put it. Lorenzo’s collection takes the same enthusiasm he put into revolutionizing streetwear and applies it to the full male wardrobe. Fear of God no longer makes merely T-shirts, as his old sweatshirt may have said. Makes anything you put on.
“He’s really sophisticated,” remarked Zegna’s artistic director Alessandro Sartori, with whom Lorenzo partnered this year. “Not just one element. The mix of materials, colors, attitude, and mood is stylish and refined. Abloh: “Jerry’s current collection is the peak of contemporary American luxury.”
Fear of God’s mix of God, baseball, Nirvana, rap, suburban malls, and rare vintage is genuine. Born Jerry Lorenzo Manuel, he is the son of former MLB manager Jerry Manuel. He grew up traversing the country as his father changed positions, always being the new kid. “I’ve crossed worlds my whole life, going to an all-white school and attempting to blend in with a small group of Black students and punks and skaters,” he said. “And Fear of God has been able to take all those signs and say one thing. It’s not hip-hop, grunge, or Wall Street. We’re saying, “This is American style.

Jerry Lorenzo wears what he designs, and many of Fear of God’s classic silhouettes are on him. Fear of God outfits are narrow on the bottom, enormous on top, and often layered inside out, short on top of long, as though the person got dressed in reverse. “Even though my dad coached in the minors, we never had money,” he remarked. “Being in certain circles and not having the money to buy the things you wanted to represent, I tried to use what I had in the best way possible to have a point of view—whether that’s turning my T-shirt inside out to show I’m not caring or playing on proportions, with a hip-hop jacket and Hedi Slimane jeans.” Jared Leto: “His work is founded on his personal experience, interests, and goals.” When you wear Fear of God, you share that vision.”
Jerry Manuel coached the Montreal Expos and Florida Marlins before managing the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets. Manuel: “I think he derives his motivation from those athletes he was around who had swagger.” “He never considered the sport’s strategy.He knows less about strategy than my other kids. But he was looking at the uniform, the ballpark, and what should be on the uniform: ‘The logo should be over here, Dad, and not over there.’ I’d say, “I’m winning games.” I don’t care!'”
The Manuel household had great faith (the moniker Fear of God is literal), lofty expectations, and persistent self-confidence. Renette, Lorenzo’s mother, stated, “In Him we live, move, and have our being.” When you’re confident, you live and move in that. She said Lorenzo was a “easygoing but deliberate” child.
Lorenzo’s goals were unclear to him for years. He played baseball at Oral Roberts before transferring to Florida A&M. “I was fine, but I… If I’d been drafted, I’d have spent four or five years in the minors and never reached the majors.
Instead, he got an MBA from Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles and worked for the Dodgers. In 2008, he returned to Los Angeles after a year in Chicago as a sports agent. He was Matt Kemp’s manager and dated Meagan Good, who introduced him to L.A.’s nightlife. Lorenzo: “Every night.” “I had a Rolodex of promoters, nightclubs, and socialites from my Hollywood lover.”

Lorenzo started throwing parties. “In the same way I recognized a gap between luxury and streetwear, there was a hole in nightlife,” he said. “If you wanted to hear hip-hop, it was like a hood party at an A-list Hollywood party.” None existed. My friend and I said, “Our pals are the middle.” Let’s develop something where we can all have fun, hear what we want, and see individuals who look like us.'”
Successful parties were costly. He drank excessively and kept strange hours. Lorenzo was so dubious about his job that he stopped using his last name. His father informed me, “Some of the things he went through to get where he is now weren’t satisfying.” “Parties, etc. I assume he used Lorenzo instead of my name because of that.”
Lorenzo saw that a disproportionate amount of his partygoers were kids with their own brands and plenty of money. “If I can dress better than you, I should be able to figure this out,” he said. “I’m leaving making a couple grand a night, and I’m like, ‘Nah, I can sell two coats and beat that.'” Let me rethink. You understand?
So he gathered together money to have T-shirts manufactured and named them Fear of God, a recognition of both his childhood religion and his absences from it. Virgil Abloh informed me he went to Lorenzo’s garage to see the earliest Fear of God pieces, which were in cardboard boxes. What happened next was lucky, but it also validated what Fear of God was meant to be: basic, practical, solutions-based. Lorenzo remembers Abloh leaving with long tanks and shirts. “After he presented it to Kanye, I got a call. I just couldn’t find the appropriate T-shirt. Someone must be struggling, right?'”

Fear of God apparel is pricey. A $1,100 Italian-made knit sweatshirt from the brand’s latest collection retails; a $795 track pant is a popular knockoff. Fear of God prices have always been costly, reflecting the quality of the materials and fabrication and the attraction of hard-to-find items, something Lorenzo understands from personal experience. 12 years ago, he couldn’t afford Rick Owens. “But it was cool enough, so I paid.”
Lorenzo has found that his clients appreciate a certain level of inaccessibility since Barneys failed and Fear of God shifted some retail online. “The way our customers shop, a business grows stale,” he said. “Oh God, why are these jeans here?” We restocked since they sold out, but I didn’t want them available. I wanted them sold out.'”
Lorenzo’s instincts are more populist than his contemporaries’. He said, “I’m a regular guy.” “I’m athletic. I’m not into fashion—I don’t follow creative directors, seasons, or houses. Fear of God has worked with Nike on a sneaker, Justin Bieber on tour gear, and Disney on Black Panther jackets. “My influences are larger-scale,” Lorenzo stated. “Most of the globe has access to these films, videos, and platforms. My style isn’t sophisticated. Much of Fear of God is mass-produced. It’s how we put it together and our American perspective.” Lorenzo’s gift is elevating the familiar, which helps companies and individuals reach as many people as possible.
Lorenzo’s preoccupation with mass-available products inspired him to create a version of Fear of God for PacSun stores named F.O.G. Lorenzo informed me more family members shop at the mall than Barneys. In practice, F.O.G. was a cheaper version of Lorenzo’s main line, and it looked like it. Lorenzo eventually replaced F.O.G. with Essentials, a streamlined but more intentional “little brother” to Fear of God, featuring stripped-down hoodies and T-shirts with prominent logos that retail for as little as $40 and sell out almost instantly.
Lorenzo invited me to a fitting for the next Essentials picture shoot in early September. When I arrived at the picture studio in Hollywood, he was scrolling through a stack of photos his assistant had printed off as references for the next day’s shoot: Andre Agassi in his ’90s on-court glory, vintage Hilfiger advertisements, decades-old paparazzi photos of dressed-down stars in airports. Two fit models arrived to help Lorenzo test and improve the clothing. Fear of God has increased over the years, but Lorenzo still undertakes much of the work. As I watched, he tacked reference photographs to a whiteboard, played a Spotify playlist (OutKast, Michael McDonald, Mase, Simply Red), created a clothing rack, and wheeled it into an improvised fitting room to style the models.

Fear of God’s worn-out denim and cozy sweaters in earthy pale greens, sandy grays, gray sands, gray blacks, and true grays had an imbalanced silhouette. Alessandro Sartori taught me about Fear of God while I watched. “It’s languid, fluid, and romantic—very American,” he remarked. “Those colors, texture, and proportions aren’t European. American color pallet and character. “That California feeling.”
Lorenzo’s assistant would photograph the models after he styled them. One model wore black biker shorts, a green sweater, white sneakers, and off-white wool socks, resembling Julia Roberts in a ’90s rom-com. The second model wore pants, a gray sweatshirt, and a rolled-up light blue denim jacket. I briefly smelled the suburban-mall Gap stores I used to frequent.
Lorenzo was fast and low-key. Lorenzo is quiet and fragile for a former party promoter. He wouldn’t yell at a nightclub. He’s honest about his worries, fears, and bruises from being at the center of popular culture.
Fear of God’s early success was tied to Lorenzo’s collaboration with Kanye West, whose aesthetic merged with Lorenzo’s. “He enjoyed Fear of God,” Lorenzo said. I worked with him on A.P.C. and Yeezy. At the same time, I’m self-taught and teaching myself how to design Fear of God, so I’m offering suggestions and maintaining ideas, and trying to keep what I was suggesting separate from what we were doing with Yeezy, A.P.C., Kanye merch, and everything else I was working on.”

Two men broke up. “It was hard to keep my perspective and express it across all he was doing,” Lorenzo said. I guess he got over my viewpoint after a while. You can tell he’s always developing in how he perceives things, and I ran out of ideas at the same time, so I’m like, ‘Man, I’m out of ideas.’ It ended weirdly.”
After Lorenzo and West split, Justin Bieber’s agency asked him to style and market his Purpose tour. In retrospect, this was a crucial moment for Fear of God: Many people first became aware of the brand when they saw Bieber wearing the clothes on- and offstage. The popularity of the merch pieces Lorenzo helped conceive for Bieber and West would spark an industry-wide trend of merging tour merchandise with fashion design.
Lorenzo worried over whether he should do this at the time. “The Bieber thing came after three and a half years with Kanye,” he said. As much as I love Justin Bieber’s songs, he’s not known for his wardrobe. Lorenzo regarded Bieber as a fellow believer he could aid. “There was a challenge in it, but also a little fear, like: Is this the end of Fear of God? You were just rocking with Ye, and now you’re like, “What happened to him?”
Lorenzo hired Beiber anyway. It taught him humility and instincts. “After working with Ye, I was vulnerable, but I thought, ‘I can help this guy.'” No longer a cool-kid, but I never wanted to be one. “I’ll just do me and let the associations fall where they may.”
Fear of God succeeded. He told me Lorenzo and West reconciled. “We text once a week.” We’re really close now, he said. “But I think we had to go in different paths and stand on our own to say, ‘Hey, you would’ve been good with or without me.'” You get it?