In reality, the F.L.I.G.H.T Gang has been together for over ten years but now they have a name, a passion, and the goal of spreading their movement through the Bay Area and beyond. Growing up together in Marin City, the F.L.I.G.H.T Gang is a crew of friends and family that support each other on their journeys to success. From F.L.I.G.H.T Gang spawned RED EY3 (Red Eye) clothing, a clothing line founded by Lorenzo Bynum, Louis Bynum, Maurice Jenkins, Melvin Judson, and Marcus Mason. Before forming any preconceptions, it is important to know the story of RED EY3 clothing. It is a story about friends working together, overcoming obstacles, and doing something positive for themselves and the community. Starting their business with their own heat press and hand making their first batch of sweatshirts, these five enterprising young men have put their hard earned money and effort into their product. With their continued determination, ambition, and togetherness, it is only a matter of time before RED EY3 clothing takes flight.
Read our interview with the RED EY3 clothing founders below to learn more about how Red Eye Clothing came to be, the ups and downs, and their goals for the future.
How do you guys know each other?
Maurice: We’ve all known each other for 10 plus years. We all grew up together, some of us were neighbors, we’re all from this community right here (Marin City). We just all had the same mindset, and we were on the same page with our goals and what we wanted to do with our lives.
How did F.L.I.G.H.T Gang initially start?
Lorenzo: It was a group of our friends, just hanging out, thinking we should start making our own sweatshirts, so people would know who we are. From there, once people started to take notice of us, whether it was support or making a mockery of us, we started to get a buzz going. My little brother at Tam, who is pushing it to the fullest, started to spread the Flight Gang movement outside of Marin City.
What does ‘F.L.I.G.H.T Gang’ stand for?
Lorenzo: Fast life, interesting girls, high times.
Marc: We had a big debate about whether or not to put gang on our clothing. And it should be known, that we don’t use the word gang with a negative connotation. Because if you look at how the word gang is perceived now, it’s bad. It’s like you’re doing criminal activity. We all have little brothers and sisters, and I don’t want my little brother or cousin to be associated or affiliated with that lifestyle. We don’t want our community associated with that. That’s why we’re doing something positive, so we can change the bad perception people have of Marin City, especially how people perceive the youth and the young adults from our area. The definition of gang is, “a group of men working together trying to find their identity for themselves.” We are trying to show that as a group of working men, we can create something positive by doing something positive.
What’s the difference between F.L.I.G.H.T Gang and RED EY3 (Red Eye) clothing?
Lorenzo: It all started with ‘Flight Gang’, a crew of all our friends, and from there spawned RedEye clothing. So there are twelve of us in Flight Gang, and five of us in RedEye clothing (Lorenzo, Louis, Marcus, Maurice, and Melvin).
Why the name RED EY3?
Maurice: Real expressions determined through your eyes (Red Eye). So it can mean almost anything, it’s all about how you view different situations. We came up with the name while we were at the Red Tail premiere, with the Tuskegee airmen, at the Lucas Valley theater. That’s also where we came up with our ‘Flight to Success’ t-shirts.
What’s the goal of RED EY3 clothing?
Maurice: We want to show people that you can make it big from the little options that you’re presented with in a small community. We are not rich out here in our community, far from it. So we want to show the people younger than us, as well as those older than us, that if you follow, and chase, your dreams, that you can make it.
Lorenzo: We want to be role models. We’re young, we have jobs (in addition to running RED EY3), and we’re trying to make it.
How did you come up with the logo design?
Marc: Zo (Lorenzo) was in Atlanta, bored in the airport, and he just sketched it out.
What are you selling so far?
Maurice: Right now, we have cardigans, sweaters, and our spring collection (shirts, tank-tops, beanies, and clothing for the ladies as well).
Marc: For our spring line, every member of RED EY3 came up with a shirt design. Our designer, Jimmy, came up with a design as well.
How do you make your sweatshirts?
Lorenzo: Our first batch of sweaters, we made personally. We bought a heat press and everything; We called it (the area of production) the ‘sweat lab’. We sweat our asses off in there. You know when you first do something, you mess up? We messed up on a lot of them. We lost about $240. The next time we outsourced to LA. But all of the sweatshirts that the whole Flight Gang crew has, were made with the heat press we bought online.
Marc: We were in the ‘sweat shop’ two days straight, heating, sweating, arguing, “oh no that goes there, you gotta use the ruler.” We had some mess ups, where we got mad, but all of that was a learning experience, and we’ve capitalized on that learning. I’m not gonna lie, that was a fun time, but we had to do what’s best for us and outsource the production. And once we sold that first sweater, it was a great feeling knowing that we had put all this hard work, literally our sweat, into that first sale.
How has living in Marin affected you as business people and in general?
Lorenzo: Me personally, growing up in Marin, the word business and Marin go hand in hand. Even though we come from a poverty based community, going to Tam, you see different phases of life. All I know is business. Even if you’re in the streets, you’re hustlin’; all you know is business, how much this weigh, how much that weigh, oh you’re short this, you’re short that. Everything is in the same form, from being the president to being anything, you’re politickin’. So with this clothing, it’s basically who is the best politician, you’re trying to figure out what is the best way to get your message across to the most people.
How have you been raising funds to support your business?
Maurice: We all work, and put in our own money. We also did a fundraiser on April 21st at the Rec (The Manzanita Recreation Center). It was a carwash, we had music, food; we washed cars and sold our clothes. We just wanted to let the community know that we’re here, and let them come out and support us.
Do you guys feel you’ve been supported by the people of Marin City?
Lorenzo: We have support from the young people, whether it’s a shout-out or purchasing a sweater. We also have people who aren’t supporting us, but, honestly, whether talking us up or down, as long as people are talking about us, it’s a good thing.
Where do you guys see ‘F.L.I.G.H.T Gang’ going?
Marc: I think we’re going big, we have a great opportunity to make something happen. We’ve invested a lot of time and money, really going through the ups and downs of starting a retail business. There have been slow times when things weren’t selling, and now that we have more sweaters things are starting to move. We want to get out of Marin City, and put our city on the map.
Lorenzo: We went to Tam for the first time the other day, with hella sweaters, and the kids came up to us and were like, “I would definitely rock this.” You know, going into this field, you’re gonna hear some no’s, but you gotta just keep it moving. If you believe in it, then it’s all good. That’s why I feel the team I have is right, we all believe in the same thing, all have the same frame of mind, the same goal, so it’s gonna happen. We just have to be patient with it. But once we get it, oooo….
Where are you guys selling your clothes?
Marc: Our stuff is available on our website, Redey3flight.com, but for the most part, we are just hustling, back of the trunk, on the cell phone, doing whatever it takes to at the moment. We’ve sold stuff around the Bay, in North Carolina, to Marc Griffin from the ‘2am Club’ (who’s touring around the country), and a few things internationally. We want to branch out more moving forward, we really want to get into the City (San Francisco).
What is your goal for the end of the year?
Maurice: We want to make a name for ourselves. We want everyone to know about us, whether it’s through the web, word of mouth, through people we know, we just want our name out there.
Lorenzo: If you want to support us, pass on the word; it’d be more supportive if you buy something (laughter), but support is support, you know? We just need to be known, once we’re known, we can really “go crazy”. No one is going to purchase anything if they don’t know about us or understand our name. So our first step is trying to become known. In Marin, we have a little buzz going, so we are going to push are clothes to the max, taking it section by section.