05 Nov INTERVIEW WITH DESIGNER LARRY GREER
Meet Larry Greer, the 23-year-old American designer and founder of ‘Flight94’. Founding his brand in 2010 after dropping out of college and having to work two jobs to pay for trademarking, he has come a long way from those days. Still at only the beginning of what I am sure is to be a long and mega successful career, here is IMONATION’s interview with him.
How did the name ‘Flight94’ come about?
The name ‘Flight 94’ came to me in 2010 when I was 16. After my uncle was murdered, I moved to Chicago with my other uncle for the summer and it came to me on the way there. I got the idea to start a clothing brand out of nowhere and then the name Flight 94 about 10 minutes later. “94’” is the year I was born in, which people might not be able to relate to but the word “Flight”, by definition means the ability to fly or a brilliant, imaginative, or unrestrained display. I feel like in life everyone wants to “fly” and achieve all their goals no matter what obstacles they may face. Everyone has a dream to be something whether they realize it or not.
What inspired the creation of the brand? Was there an event that sparked the beginning?
The inspiration for the brand came for my love of fashion and art. I loved putting pieces of clothing together and thinking about new ways designers could’ve done a certain pair of pants or shirt they created. I also loved drawing so I just merged the two together. The event that sparked the beginning would be the murder of my uncle. I realized how short life is at that moment and wanted to leave my mark on the world by creating something that people would love and I would be proud of.
You dropped out of college to start this brand and have never been to fashion school. Do you think that puts you at a disadvantage compared to those that did?
Honestly I do but then again I feel like the journey is more important. Most people that have degrees in fashion/business may not have the same passion or mindset as me but they know more about the business and have more resources in some cases. I also feel as if they won’t learn everything they need to know without going through things the same way I do. I enjoy the journey of starting from a print shop newspaper ad and growing into a cut-and-sew designer learning everything along the way. Gaining true experience. Failing makes things better.
How would you describe your brand? What is at the core of ‘Flight94’?
My brand focuses on showcasing ready to wear cut-and-sew pieces with streetwear sensibilities. It brings something different to the fashion world at a kind of affordable price. At the core of ‘Flight 94’ is passion. I hope that people can see the passion and determination in every piece of clothing I create. My brand’s ability to stand out among the rest. To give the wearer self confidence and feel stylish.
How important is the commercial side of your brand to you?
When I first started, it didn’t matter. I just wanted to design and create clothing and accessories for people that they could be themselves in. Help them gain more self confidence and feel like they can do anything if they put their minds to it. Even though I still hold those same principles and values close I now see that the commercial side of things is important. It helps your business spread to more people all over the world, instead of just staying in one place by generating consumer sales. What you put in is what you get out. The more people that know about you and what you create, the more you can create new things and gain inspiration from.
Describe the men and women you picture wearing your clothes?
The men and women I picture wearing my clothes are teenagers to middle- aged adults. Whether they are deep into fashion or not, they wear it well and put together what they think would go great with a top, hoodie, or pair of pants. Some might wear Raf Simons pieces with one of my shirts, or some might go to a local department store and find something to go with one of the pieces. At the end of the day everyone has their own style.
Has there been a standout moment so far in your career that you are immensely proud of?
There’s been multiple moments but the biggest moment so far has been my creating my first cut and sew piece( the teddy bear hoodie). That let me know that anything is possible and I can do anything if I put the time and effort in. I’m immensely proud of how far I’ve come in under 5 years. I’ve been in multiple stores, met celebrities, and more, all from taking a chance on an idea I had that I could become one of the biggest designers one day. A newspaper ad about a screenprinting company having a sale changed my life. It was a stepping stone to creating the pieces I create today.
As an entrepreneur, what piece of advice would you give people who are in the similar situation as you were in and want to set up their own brand?
Don’t rush anything. Things take time and Rome wasn’t built in a day. If you have to start small then thats where you should start, but never give up and keep pushing until things start happening.
Who in the industry do you look up to and would count as an inspiration?
Virgil Abloh, Raf Simons, one of my best friends who is also an designer Kovaly, and a few more people
You are about to release your SS18 collection. What can you tell us about the clothes and the inspiration behind the line?
The clothes are probably like nobody has ever seen before. I’m taking my time with designing each piece and getting details down. The inspiration behind the collection came from multiple things such as the whole “love and war” thing that’s happening in the world today; (How one side wants everyone to love each other, have equality amongst all, and bring peace to the world, vs negativity, hate, and war the other side brings), pin up posters from the 1940s, and art pieces that I got inspiration from while walking through galleries.
And finally, where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
In the next 5 years I see myself being worldwide. Having a bigger following, selling my pieces in the same stores as high fashion brands, and setting the bar higher when it comes to creating. Having an office space where I can create in peace. Turning my brand into a fashion house and being able to help people that are in need more than I am now.
Flight94 Spring/ Summer 2018 dropping soon. Be sure to check out the website