Clothing Designer’s Death Remains a Mystery

Clothing designer Jonas Bevacqua, right, died Monday at his home in Laguna Beach.

A private Catholic service was held in memory of Jonas Bevacqua, founder of the fast-growing hip-hop apparel company L-R-G, Wednesday in his parents’ home in Monarch Beach, according to a family friend.

Bevacqua, 34, was discovered dead at his Laguna Beach home Monday, May 30. The cause of death has yet to be determined since an autopsy conducted Wednesday proved inconclusive and toxicology results are still underway, according to coroner’s office watch commander Kelley Keyes. Laguna Beach police say no criminal investigation is underway.

Bevacqua, who as a teenager lived in a trailer at the former El Moro trailer park, worked as a dj and parking valet while getting Lifted Research Group off the ground in 1999. Entrepreneur magazine ranked the company number five among fast-growing companies and with sales of $150 million in 2006, soaring from $5 million in 2002.

Matt Sheridan, of Laguna Beach, met Bevacqua in a math class at LBHS at age 14, valet parked cars with him while Bevacqua was starting L-R-G, and was one of its first sales reps.

“His whole concept was to pay your rent with your passion,” said Sheridan.

Bevacqua donated time, money and clothing to those who needed it, including students at the San Juan Capistrano school where Sheridan teaches. Sheridan said his friend was also colorblind when it came to social status.

“He blew stereotypes out of the water. He was adopted, and lived with brothers and sisters that were black, white, Asian,” said Sheridan, referring to the Bevacqua family of seven siblings, six of them adopted, including Jonas, as well as a biological son.

The company, which coined the tag line, “adopt children, not style,” made clothing appealing to skaters, surfers, artists and hip-hop fans.

“We make clothes that make you think and feel better than anyone else. At the end of the day it’s a business, but this is truly a labor of love. I feel like I’ve never worked a day in my life,” said Bevacqua in a company promotional video.

The company expanded its brand with accessories like a Sidekick smartphone and portable speakers, as well as producing music and sponsoring board sports athletes.

His partners and co-founders Robert Wright and Charlie Moothart, said in a statement on the LRG website they intend to continue. Company officials failed to return phone calls.

Bevacqua was found in his bed at 8 p.m. by his father and fiance, who had been away for the weekend, Sgt. Louise Callus said.

He is survived by a son, Adyn, 5, and parents Joe and Helen, six siblings and a fiancé, according to the L-R-G website.

“He was always an incredibly sincere, pierce through the bull—t kind of guy. The positive association that he brought into street culture through art and music and good messages is something that barely any clothing company does at that level, and especially how he did that from such a young age with such power,” said Dan Mariner, a long time clothing designer and co-founder of clothing company Alex Maine.




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