Fear of God, for Less—Again

The brand is doing away with F.O.G. in favor of Essentials: a new, higher-end sub-brand.

Since launching in 2013, Fear of God hasn’t exactly gone about building a fashion line in the traditional way. For one, the brand churns out $900 jeans and $700 hoodies—and then sells out of them—while keeping everything in-house. The label’s never done a proper fashion show. And the LA brand label ignores the two-collections-a-year fashion calendar, instead dropping new goods when they’re ready: the brand’s fifth collection launched over a year ago, and…that was the last we’d heard. But yesterday, founder Jerry Lorenzo announced Essentials, a new diffusion line from the brand that offers simplified versions of its main line pieces at a more accessible price point.

This isn’t the first lower-priced offering from Lorenzo & co: his previous attempt, F.O.G., involved collaborations with Vans, and was available exclusively at Pac Sun, all retailing for maybe a tenth of the regular line’s occasionally shocking sticker price. Lorenzo explains that Essentials, meanwhile, is a new brand with its own identity. “I thought it was necessary for the line not be derivative of the main line. I think it serves a different purpose,” says Lorenzo. “We’re trying to provide our younger audience with their baseline essential needs for their closet. Naming it Essentials is a little more honest. F.O.G., the name itself, felt more like a takedown of what we’re doing more than doing something different for a different audience.”

Make no mistake: the pieces are unmistakably Lorenzo. The oversized hoodies, slim sweatpants, and denim seen in just about every NBA arena tunnel still make up the core of the offering. And though he wouldn’t share specifics, Lorenzo says the price range for Essentials “is more in the RRL or A.P.C. range. Like RRL or A.P.C., these products are made overseas, but they’re also made at a high level,” says Lorenzo. So: more affordable, but decidedly not exactly mass market. And if you are looking for value, Lorenzo says, look to denim. Where a pair of hand-distressed, made-in-LA Fear of God jeans can run you close to $1,000, expect a similar pair from Essentials to be more in the $200-$300 range. Like Fear of God, the jeans in Essentials are an uber-slim fit with zippers at the leg openings—but the wash looks entirely new. It’s a sandy, dusty vibe that’s a departure from the stonewashed and raw-denim options that populate Lorenzo’s main line. “They’re based off a pair of jeans I found at the Rose Bowl [Flea Market],” he says. “We haven’t done that kind of dark wash with the main line, so I wanted to do something different.”

Essentials didn’t just come out of nowhere—it’s also a response to a measurable desire for Fear of God-style products at non-Fear of God prices, serviced by the flood of internet start-up streetwear labels sell the Fear of God look for way, way less. “We’ve been getting knocked off for a while, so I thought it was time to provide that service at a higher level than what people are knocking us off at,” says Lorenzo. “If you want to get a piece of who we are in a more authentic way, [Essentials] is a lot better than buying something that’s cheap from someone else.”

Fear of God Essentials will be available in April at select retailers and online

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