ARTIST FEATURE: GRPFLY 

click to enlarge Vernon Deas and his wife Amy started GRPFLY in 2008. - NEISHA T. FORD
  • Neisha T. Ford
  • Vernon Deas and his wife Amy started GRPFLY in 2008.
OKG sat down with Vernon Deas, founder of GRPFLY, OKC’s premier apparel company, to talk about what inspires his designs.

What is the historical reference of GRPFLY?
The word GRPFLY, aka Group Fly, is a group of people elevating to a higher destination. We started our brand in 2008. We used inspiration from the Tuskegee Airmen in a lot of our earlier imagery. My wife and I started GRPFLY with $10k and a dream. We have now shipped all over the world, worked with NBA pro athletes, been in national retail stores and have launched two successful design agencies. God is good!

What are your cultural influences that make up the style of GRPFLY?
My influences really come from everything like epic streetwear brands like 10Deep and Bape in the early 2000s, hip-hop culture and skateboard culture and ’90s basketball. Old-school gospel preachers too. I am the offspring of Stevie Williams, Wu-Tang, Bishop Jakes and Michael Jordan.
click to enlarge NEISHA T. FORD
  • Neisha T. Ford

Do you have any designed tees planned for the relaunch of the NBA?
We are currently cooking up some heat now. We do have some basketball-inspired tees.

What has the journey been like for you to create a clothing line?
Building a brand is like walking through a wonderful maze in excitement and no one has a compass or a map. We have so much fun building GRPFLY; there have been high highs and low lows, but the journey is so much fun.

One funny story is how our brand ran through $60k on a premium menswear line in 2013 that never released. Bro, I could have printed a lot of tees with $60k, but God is still good. We are still here! We learned a lot from that mistake. I can laugh about it now.

What products does GRPFLY sell?
We sell tees, hoodies, headwear, accessories and occasionally pants/shorts/jackets. We have mastered the art of the streetwear tee. God is good.

click to enlarge NEISHA T. FORD
  • Neisha T. Ford
We saw that you have a Vintage Shop tab on your website. Where do you source those items?
I love thrifting at thrift shops in OKC and Texas. I don’t get to do it a lot. But it is a thrill to find gems. I also source out of Chicago.

GRPFLY has done collaborations with various artists around OKC, like Jabee and GNWY. How do you decide who to do collabs with?
Everything falls back to relationships; I love working with my friends.

What is Fly or Die Fridays?
FODF is our epic YouTube channel. It is me and my team talking about streetwear, basketball, sneakers, the gospel and just random good vibes. I always wanted to be a full-time preacher. This is my pulpit. Amen.

Check out GRPFLY on Instagram (@grpfly) and visit grpfly.com.

click to enlarge NEISHA T. FORD
  • Neisha T. Ford
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