For many of Group Fly's followers, it's about more than the clothes. It's the company's tagline — fly or die — they find attractive.
“Either you're elevating toward your dreams or dying,” founder Vernon Deas said. “People gravitate toward that ideology.”
He created the clothing company in 2008, after stints as a hip hop artist, graphic designer, skateboarder and youth pastor. It was time to take a step out and “follow the dream,” he said, and support his family, which includes wife Amy and two children, Nessa and Nia.
Group Fly's clothing includes a whimsical line called Cadets featuring street wear reminiscent of the 1990s, and a line of Oklahoma City Thunder basketball fan T-shirts. A high-end line called New American, made from premium textiles and made in the U.S., launches this fall.
Deas said designing the T-shirt for Kevin Durant's all-star charity game during the 2011 NBA lockout helped boost the company's presence.
“It really gave us a big push and made us a cult hero,” he said. Group Fly sold 5,000 shirts that day.
The brand's latest accomplishment was securing a shelf space in eight Zumiez stores in Oklahoma, Kansas City and Dallas. That has given Group Fly's clothing mainstream exposure through shopping mall traffic.
The clothing also is sold at Oklahoma City retailers Blue Seven, DNA Galleries and Extreme Athletic Wear at Quail Springs Mall, as well as online through the company's website.
Deas said he is working to open a store at NW 10 and Walker Avenue in Midtown.