Jerry Lorenzo is no stranger to basketball.
While his father has deep ties to the Major League Baseball — he was a manager and now serves as an analyst — and Lorenzo worked for the Los Angeles Dodgers out of college, his Instagram was filled with shots of him sitting courtside at NBA games with his sneakers usually taking up the frame. And, according to Lorenzo, his Fear of God line was influenced by his day-to-day wardrobe during the Nineties when he was in high school and got dressed for the classroom and the basketball court.
“As you can imagine, there are tons of opportunities that get brought to the table when two brands come together and try to find the common place to build from. We discussed other sports. We talked about football and training, but when the basketball opportunity came to the table, it hit a sweet spot for me,” said Lorenzo. “I have a true emotional connection to the sport and I thought I could really bring what I believe are my gifts and talents from a design perspective and be of best service to Nike.”
Lorenzo worked with Nike basketball designer Leo Chang on two basketball sneakers that are new silhouettes for the brand. Being able to watch the players up close and personal, he observed that many of them would wear expressive sneakers while warming up and more subdued styles during the game — in August the National Basketball Association revealed that for the first time in league history, players would be able to wear sneakers of any color on the court.
“We identified the nuances and needs of the modern athlete and are providing solutions for their 360-life around the sport,” said Lorenzo. “What does he wear going to the game? What does he want on-court?”
This resulted in the Air Fear of God 1, a performance sneaker that retails for $350, and the Air Fear of God SA or the “shoot around” that retails for $300. Each style has the same sole, but the performance sneaker references the Air Max 180 and features a double stack external Zoom heel and an internal, full-length Zoom that’s bouncy. Lorenzo said they enlarged the Nike Swoosh and played with different fabrications on the all black style. Both shoes will come in a black and bone colorway. The Air Fear of God 1 has already been worn by P.J. Tucker during a game.
Lorenzo produces his own premium sneakers for Fear of God — echoes of his footwear aesthetic are present in his collaboration with Nike — and he’s designed shoes with Vans, but working with performance was a first for him. He previewed the shoes in his video look book for Fear of God Collection 6, which featured Jared Leto. Lorenzo said the collection, which he’s been working on for a year and a half, and the shoe, which has been in the works for two-and-a-half years, were developed side by side.
Lorenzo has also created 10 pieces of men’s apparel for Nike, which will retail from $40 for a men’s hat to $650 for a parka. The collection is inspired by basketball references from the Nineties and once again is meant to be a solution for players on what to wear before and after the game. Nike has focused more on producing apparel with its collaborators. Both Virgil Abloh of Off White and Matthew Williams of Alyx have designed clothing for the sportswear giant. The Air Fear of God collection will be available to purchase on Dec. 15.
In terms of his own line, Lorenzo said he’s still playing chief executive officer and designer and he hasn’t received any outside investment, although he has around 30 people on staff.
“As a businessman I guess I should know what’s happening next year with the business, but I don’t have that solution,” said Lorenzo. “I’m so focused on the things we are working on presently and sometimes that strategy goes against the proper way to run a business. At some point it has to become a business, but right now I’m interested in the storytelling and the product and creating things from such a level that will give us the foundation to have a lasting business.”