Fly Geenius is redefining varsity jackets through leather
Davon Bean, Founder/CEO of Fly Geenius, is a New Yorker who witnessed how hip-hop culture can become an essential part of a neighborhood identity.
By sketching and envisioning the clothes he wanted to wear himself, he started a path that passed thru Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Gucci, and Phillip Lim — and ended up at his own dream & label in 2011: Fly Geenius.
Collaborating with incredibly influential names like Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown, A$AP Ferg & even Vanson Leather for a series of jackets, the brand creates capsule collections that express that very hip-hop identity Davon grew up around.
With loads of pics by Davon's daughter, Dev (The Human Beaan), every collection represents the city life at its fullest. The latest drops are the proof. Named Hot Air Ballon and Paid in Full, the two concepts englobe a redefinition of what the varsity jacket represents while directing creative energy to greatness. It's a new game as the brand wraps the traditional high school jacket in premium leather.
Keep scrolling for the full chat we had with Davon about how he continues the hustle every step on the way.
The varsity jacket style has totally transcended its original roots as a signature of school sports teams ― what do you think gave it the power to gain relevance nowadays?
Well, I feel like everyone can relate to the history behind varsity jackets. Varsity jackets make you feel like you are a part of a team or a movement in a sense. It can also give you nostalgia when you're wearing it and bring you back to your school days. They are just dope jackets overall. It's a cool way to get creative with the colorways and patches.
Why did you choose to primarily work with the distinct varsity jacket style?
For me, it gave me that nostalgia of being in high school or playing football as a kid. But I wanted to make it my own and push the envelope. That's why I decided to do the Paid in Full theme with the money patches. I wanted to do something different. It's rare you see a green varsity with money all over it or a full pink varsity jacket. I always use my influences from growing up in the Bronx, and what I learned traveling the world when I designed these jackets.
Nostalgia is a constant element that influences modern fashion and design — what is the importance of expanding upon classic ideas rather than simply replicating them?
Well, it's definitely important for me because I grew up in the '90s, and I feel like that was the golden era for streetwear and hip-hop. But it's important to actually get creative with it, and not just take from the past. It makes it much cooler if you do it right, and make it your own.
Many of your designs are experimental, especially in collab with Vanson, frequently featuring vibrant colors and detailed embellishments. How does the nature of leather allow for versatility in your designs?
Well, to be able to collab with Vanson was an honor, because I grew up wanting a Vanson, but I couldn't afford one. Vanson also has some of the best leather materials in the world.
I treat leather like my personal canvas. Whatever comes to my mind I put it on the leather.
Sometimes it's challenging because it is leather, but that's the fun part. Stay tuned for our second drop with Vanson releasing Fall '21.
Speaking of leather reminds us of an important topic: sustainability. What does that mean to the Fly Geenius brand, and how do you seek to achieve sustainable processes?
Sustainability means a lot to us at Fly Geenius. The earth is our true home so we have to protect it at all cost. In the near future we'll be designing full sustainable collections. Our chief executive Cornelia Sterl is always pushing sustainability. She's also an architect at Studio Sterl, and she always implements sustainability into her projects when she's building and designing. We'll speak more on that later.
Let's talk about some of your style icons ― whose looks inspired you to get into design, including real people or fictional characters?
Pharrell, Bronx street culture, Harlem, Andre Leon Talley, Biggie, my mom, and just the art of fashion — the feeling it gives you. Putting on certain garments can change your mood entirely. I wanted to be one of those designers who are responsible for changing moods and for making you feel like a million bucks when you only have $20 to your name. That's part of my inspiration.
Want to see these drips IRL? The pop-up store to launch the capsule collection will be open on March 06 & 07 from 11AM to 7PM at 45 Great Jones St, NYC. BTW, on Saturday, Fergie Baby will be performing, so don't miss out.
You can find more details about their collab with Vanson Leather right here.