When Phoenix-based clothing designer Chris Benford was growing up, he would draw on his friends’ clothes and skateboards.
“Designing has always been a part of my life,” he says. “It’s just something I’ve always wanted to do.”
Now, Benford has his own clothing brand, Fly Forever High For Now, which he says embodies a way of life.
“’Fly Forever’ means to hold yourself to a standard of looking your best every day. Presentation is the key to everything,” he says. “’High For Now’ is just being the highest level of person you can through any circumstances no matter what it is. Just remember to be the best you that you can be.”
Benford says what sets his clothing company apart from other lifestyle brands is that it’s truly homegrown. “We’re not really like any other brand,” he says.
In fact, he will soon be launching a new collection called Arizona Homegrown, which will focus on the nostalgia of “watching your AZ home team or wearing your uncle’s old-school Starter cap.”
In August, Benford teamed up with Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation to create the Enlightenment T-shirt. The shirt was meant to send a message of hope to kids in foster care and the proceeds from each sale went directly to the foundation.
The collaboration hit close to home for Benford, who grew up in foster care.
“We were so excited because it was a young man who had aged out of foster care and who we felt like understood what we do and why it matters,” says the foundation’s executive director, Kris Jacober.
The foundation funds activities and programs for foster children throughout Arizona, such as music lessons, dance lessons, swim school and prom dresses – “all that stuff that gives you a childhood,” Jacober says.
Benford hopes it will lead to more partnerships in the future.
“We need a community built on positivity and lifting each other up,” he says. “I know from my personal experiences that it’s not always easy, and because of that, no job is too small, no obstacle too large.”