For the past decade, Fear of God founder and creative director Jerry Lorenzo has steadily built an American luxury empire by playing his own game. No fashion shows, no retail stores. Rather than abiding by the industry’s traditional seasonal churn, Lorenzo releases his collections when they’re ready – sometimes six months apart, sometimes years. He has resisted the lure of outside money, preferring to grow the brand himself, a business plan he compares to Nipsey Hussle’s “double up” mantra, and one that affords him complete creative freedom. “I’m not in this,” Lorenzo says, “to ever have to answer to someone else.”
In April, for the brand’s 10th year, Lorenzo finally held a Fear of God runway show. An expensive landmark event at the Hollywood Bowl, it was the type of audacious production that might have given investors a heart attack. Thousands of fans pulled up, including Tinseltown heavyweights and regular customers who just love his hoodies. And practically every single person was draped in Fear of God’s comfy oversized blazers and fancy sweats, which have suddenly become the foundation of contemporary American style.
The show was a total validation of Lorenzo’s unorthodox methods, a crystal-clear statement that drew the crowd to its feet. The self-taught designer founded the brand with a sense of deep conviction. He designed clothes of effortless sophistication for his own closet, which changed as his tastes did, from elevated streetwear to made-in-Italy tailoring. He launched the lower-priced Essentials line, but didn’t dumb it down. It’s now a runaway commercial success, one that matches his lofty intentions: “How,” he asks, are these clothes “making the customer become the best version of who they are?”
Lorenzo’s maverick spirit doesn’t take a backseat in big boardrooms either. He signed a deal with Adidas in 2020, and the first pieces of that long-anticipated collaboration finally hit the runway at the Bowl, and are just now rolling out. The wait was, of course, intentional. “I find my peace in the product,” he says. “There’s nothing else that’s directing us.” – SH
Watch of the Year
TAG Heuer Carrera
In 1963, the Carrera Chronograph entered the world as a watch for auto-racing enthusiasts with a taste for good design. This year, TAG Heuer celebrated the 60th anniversary of its flagship watch with a radical new design for the brand – the gorgeous Carrera Glassbox, with its internal bezel – and a major pop culture cameo, courtesy of Ryan Gosling as Ken in Barbie. At the same time, TAG released a suite of grail-level vintage models, like the yacht-worthy Skipper and the Gold Carrera Chronograph, made after a watch that was beloved by Ferrari drivers in the ’70s, allowing the Carrera to assert itself as one of the all-time great sport watches. – Cam Wolf
A version of this story originally appeared in the 2023 Men of the Year issue with the title “The 2023 GQ Fashion Awards”