Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Jonas Bevacqua, co-founder of L.R.G. found dead

Taken from: http://www.ocregister.com/news/bevacqua-302677-lrg-beach.html

LAGUNA BEACH – Jonas Bevacqua, co-founder and creative director of the Irvine-based clothing company LRG, was found dead in his home on Bern Drive in Laguna Beach on Monday, the Orange County Coroner's Office confirmed. He was 34.
The cause of death for the well-known urban-style clothing designer has not yet been determined, Supervising Deputy Coroner Kelly Keyes said. The Laguna Beach Police Department did not provide details but said that the death does not appear to be suspicious.

Jonas Bevacqua, 31, cofounder of the Irvine-based LRG, Lifted Research Group, suggested he'd hop on the panda for a portrait. The clothing and lifestyle company has a young staff, most of whom are under 32.

LRG – short for Lifted Research Group – both supports and is supported by a community of musicians, artists and athletes who have donned the company's clothing. According to LRG, the company's clothes have been worn by celebrities from Kobe Bryant and Reggie Bush to Kanye West and John Legend to Quentin Tarantino and Tom Arnold.
Entrepreneur magazine reported the company had sales of $5 million in 2002 and $150 million in 2006, earning it the No. 5 spot on the publication's 500 fastest growing companies.
LRG co-founders Robert Wright and Charlie Moothart in a statement posted on the company's website Tuesday night described Bevacqua as a "visionary" who served as a "friend, partner, father, mentor and very caring person."
"Jonas was a star who burned brightly in the sky and who is gone too soon," the statement read. "There is a hole in our hearts that will never be filled. He will always be loved and missed by his friends, family and those he inspired."
Those sentiments were shared among online followers as news spread of Bevacqua's death.
"A true fashion pioneer,'' wrote an admirer on Twitter.
"RIP Jonas Bevacqua. Your accomplishments and trend setting ways inspired many,'' wrote another.
The early years of Bevacqua' life were spent in Long Beach, but when he got into high school his family moved to Laguna Beach. These two cultures were very different to him – the streets of Long Beach and the beaches of Laguna – and it helped shape him. He took to skating and surfing rather than team sports.
His family is a veritable melting pot. Bevacqua, who is U.S-born Vietnamese, was adopted along with six others by Helen and Joe Bevacqua, who also have one biological son. He has a black brother and sister, Filipino brother and sister, half-white-half black sister, half Jamaican-half-Spanish brother and a white brother.
"I grew up in a pretty unique environment and was exposed to a lot of different things," Bevacqua told the Register in 2009. "I didn't feel there was a clothing company to bridge the gap among all these different things that we were into – that spoke for that melting pot of what was going on. That's what LRG was all about."
After high school, he tried out college.
"I did two semesters but probably showed up like three times," Bevacqua said.
He drifted around California for a couple of years and spent time in San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco. In 1999, he decided he wanted to start a clothing company.
Bevacqua moved back in with his parents in Laguna Beach to start LRG. He worked as a valet during the day and at night he was a DJ at local clubs. His parents helped him get a computer for work.
He met Robert Wright while working as a DJ. Wright had a college education and experience working for O'Neill, a surf clothing brand, and he delivered all that knowledge to Bevacqua. They received some investor funding from Charlie Moothart and Ronnie Ghenender and LRG was born.
They started out with some sketches and ideas working out of Bevacqua's bedroom as he learned how to design and get clothes made.
"I had no idea what I was doing. I knew I definitely needed to get stuff made. We put together this game plan. I had to get some hats embroidered. So, I found some place local to us in Santa Ana," Bevacqua said.
Design at LRG is all about the message. Sometimes the message is about wit or humor and other times it's about a state of mind. The "Lifted" in Lifted Research Group, for example, can reference an elevated state of mind. Some of the messages LRG delivered over the years include: Make Jeans, Not War; Underground Inventive, Overground Effective; Equipment For Life's Journey; The Underachievers.
One message LRG revisits from time to time holds particular personal meaning to Bevacqua. Adopt Children, Not Style.
"That's my life story," Bevacqua said.
Bevacqua is survived by his fiancé, son, seven siblings and his mother and father, LRG officials said.

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