If you read David Carr’s article in the Times this weekend—in which he examined Anna Wintour’s not-so-creeping advance on the other, lesser, Conde Nast titles she’s been charged with artistically directing (and if you care at all about fashion mags—whether your taste runs to Glamour or GQ—and fashion, period, you should read it, now), you’ll know that independence amongst the editors of those venerable publications is something that is highly valued.
That’s why today is an important day for menswear. It’s when GQ celebrates its nominees for Best New Menswear Designer in America. This year’s crop includes the brothers of Bespoken, Ernest Sabine of Ernest Alexander, Aviator Nation’s Paige Mycoskie, and Matt Baldwin of Baldwin Men’s Shop. Each brand has an opportunity to collaborate with the event’s sponsor Gap–getting the chance to have a capsule collection sold in Gap stores nationwide and online (get a sneak peak at Ernest Alexander’s making-of video below).
Why are these nominations so valuable? Well, GQ’s editors (with a bit of allowance for some influence from Gap), i.e., the people with the most discerning taste in menswear–Jim Nelson, Jim Moore, and Madeline Weeks among them–made the call. They take risks, bringing surprising brands to the fore. Sure, a couple of years ago they handed a prize to Alexander Wang, but that was the same year they nominated Rick Klotz’s fluorescent and way-out-there Warriors of Radness line, as well as, the tiny masters of tailoring at Miller’s Oath (blink in West SoHo and you might miss their shop–your loss).
This isn’t a knock to the CFDA, or its incubator program, which continues to nurture some excellent talent. It’s more of a tip of the hat to GQ for continuing to push the envelope in these choices, and a hope and a prayer–To whom do we pray, when we pray to the menswear gods: Brian Ferry? Beau Brummel? James Dean? JFK? …Another article for another time–that their agency in such matters, and others, will continue unabated.