At the age of 16, Larry Greer put together his love for drawing and fashion to create the conceptual designs of his brand - Flight 94. Coined after his birth date 1994, and Greer’s own drive, Flight 94, seeks to inspire his supporters, “to never give up on your dreams no matter what anyone says to you.” Greer skillfully combines his gift of graphic design and eye for elevated fabrication to create wily and thoughtful cut and sew collections with streetwear sensibilities.
Sashana Maitland: What inspired you to launch Flight 94?
Larry Greer: I was always into fashion, but my skill-set was in drawing. Early in my teens I tried to draw shoes for Nike, but found out that it would be difficult to get my designs made. When that fell through, I tried to start a manga publication, and again that too didn't work out. As I got older, I thought about my future a lot and knew that I wanted to be my own boss. Unfortunately, my uncle passed in 2010, so I moved to Chicago for the summer of where I became inspired to launch Flight 94. As of right now, I am based in St. Louis, MO where I design and create pieces for Flight 94.
Discuss your Flight 94's design aesthetic.
I feel like from time to time my design aesthetic switches. I don’t ever want to be too predictable or in a box. I feel like it’s whatever I’m feeling like, and really going through at the time. It could be grunge one collection and switch to something artistic with class for the next collection. Throughout the various collections I create, I would there to be pieces that everyone can enjoy.
You titled your current SS18 collection 'Broken Romance,' talk about the inspiration behind this collection.
A year or so ago I began drawing designs for this collection. At that time, I had an idea based on how relationships can leave you heartbroken. You know, how being in love can feel like you're in a constant war of protecting your heart and interests with the possibility of peace at the end, but as always you have to fight through the obstacles to get there. Throughout this ordeal, I would frequent the local museum and watched a lot of teen angst movies. In doing so, I was able to come up with the first concept design of skeletons kissing with knives in the hand behind each other’s back. It symbolizes how people can love and pretend to love one another all the while planning on stabbing each other in the back.
Your pieces for this collection are uniquely detailed and animated, tell us about the graphics and fabrication.
In my youth, I would always think to myself how nice it would be if designers could make a certain shirts into jackets, and be more versatile in design/fabric selection. So for the Broken Romance collection, I did research on different prints and fabrics that would compliment an eye-catching color palette.
Describe the type of customer you see wearing Broken Romance pieces.
I’m surprised to see that my most frequent buyers of this collection are from a demographic of people aged 30 years and older. I do see teens and young adults wearing the collection as well, so in essence it really is relatable among people who had their heartbroken or ultimately going through a difficult period in life.
You have a gift for using prints to create unique satirical characters and stories. As a creator, what are you fascinated by at the moment, and how does it feed into your work?
Thanks for spotting that. At the moment I’m fascinated with 80s movies, designer stories/interviews, and traveling. This all feeds into my work through the various inspirational ideas I come across in creating concepts for new pieces. This past weekend I was in New York for fashion week, and it was my second time here so I visited many different galleries, boutiques, food spots, and a few fashion shows to derive new ideas for collection concepts.
At the age of 16 you launched Flight 94. Is there any essential advice you would give to young designers?
To start, you need to research your interests and understand the information you're coming across. That was a big obstacle I had to overcome my first year of launching Flight 94. I remember when I would occasionally ask for help from more advanced designers, and they would always tell me, “go look it up." I felt like they wanted to see how serious I was about my brand. Another piece of advice to young designers, is to be passionate about your work because it shows in everything you create. There are a lot of designers creating collections for the mere sake of fame and profit, to only lose their passion and way once they attain such great feats. Honestly, it's rough having a new brand so you can’t give up no matter how tough times may get. You must always keep going and be yourself.
What's next for Flight 94?
At the moment I’m working on Flight 94's FW18 collection, but in a year I aspire for the brand to be covered/distributed worldwide, and be able to create pieces full-time.
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I write and teach what I love: literacy, multiculturalism, and pop culture. Follow me on Instagram @thegraceofmystyle