In a Huge Move, Adidas Basketball Names Fear of God Designer Jerry Lorenzo As Its Global Head
This year has already proven to be a pivotal one for Fear of God. The red-hot American label designed by Jerry Lorenzo has gone from legacy-making milestone to legacy-making milestone, prompting features in just about every fashion-y magazine around (guilty as charged!) and no small amount of breathless industry coverage. Lorenzo and co. started off the year announcing a standout collaboration with the Italian suiting whizzes at Ermenegildo Zegna, shortly followed by a mainline collection chock full of the sort of casual, oversized tailoring that's fast becoming a new hallmark of the brand. (For reference, Frances McDormand wore a double-breasted suit from the label for the January issue of Vogue, in a cover shot by Annie Leibovitz.)
But even measured by the type of year Lorenzo's having, his latest achievement is big news. Today, Adidas announced a long-term partnership with Fear of God, naming Lorenzo the global head of the company's basketball division in what the two are billing as an alliance that "challenges and exists beyond traditional collaboration," per a memo released by the Three Stripes.
According to the release, the partnership will also "solidify the establishment and formation of the third pillar of the Fear of God house, Fear of God Athletics." What that means, exactly, isn't entirely clear—and Adidas is being coy about the details. Is there a new Fear of God line in the works focused on performance wear, to be produced by Adidas? (The brand had a similar, albeit short-lived, agreement with Kanye West for the first season of the artist's Yeezy collection, a line Lorenzo has consulted on in the past.) Or will Lorenzo design a new line of co-branded apparel in partnership with the Three Stripes? The language of the memo seems to indicate the former, but for now it's anyone's guess.
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For Adidas, adding the Fear of God designer to its deep roster of in-house talent represents nothing short of a coup. Successfully poaching Lorenzo away from Nike, its biggest rival—where he was responsible for many a hit sneaker over the years—is no small feat. For Lorenzo, signing with Adidas, and in such a prominent capacity, is a re-dedication to the type of athletic-leaning sportswear he made a name for himself designing, this time on a much bigger scale.
Lorenzo's new role also marks the second appointment this year of a prominent Black designer to a high-powered position in the sportswear industry, following Kerby Jean-Raymond's appointment as Vice President of Creative Direction at Reebok. Both designers are at the top of their game right now, and a formal recognition of their influence by two of the sector's biggest brands is only part of a long-overdue reckoning within an industry that continues to grapple with how it treats the Black personalities—be it athletes, artists, or influencers—behind its most popular designs.
For his part, what Lorenzo wants is fairly straightforward: to revolutionize the performance basketball industry forever. In the memo released today, the designer lauded Adidas' vision for the future of the sport, one he eagerly awaits implementing as the two work to change the face of the industry in the coming years. "Jerry is a creative visionary and embodies a true expression of the entrepreneurial spirit today," says Brian Grevy, an executive board member responsible for global brands at Adidas. "We look forward to working with him to inspire the next generation of basketball creatives, athletes, and communities."
If the frenzied levels of demand Lorenzo's designs tend to generate are any indication, those creatives, athletes, and communities are probably looking forward to it, too. And so should you.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.