GQ best menswear
by Stephen Garner
GQ Best New Menswear
photo via GQ

GQ has announced the return of the Best New Menswear Designers program for the eleventh year—for the first time ever with an international twist—celebrating the Coolest Designers on the Planet.

The project, established in 2007, traditionally recognizes the best young menswear designers in the country and works to advance the talented up-and-comers. This year, GQ editor-in-chief Jim Nelson and creative director Jim Moore took the program international, curating young talent from Paris, Tokyo, and Brooklyn. The Coolest Designers on the Planet will be featured in the June 2017 issue of GQ, and will collaborate with Gap on a limited-edition collection, to be sold in the fall exclusively at select Gap stores around the world.

GQ’s 2017 Best New Menswear Designers include French fashion label AMI, Brooklyn lifestyle brand Kinfolk, and Japanese iconic retailer United Arrows.

French designer Alexander Mattiussi of AMI, used to work for Dior and Givenchy, so he knows how to make clothes that look and feel luxurious, even if his own designs are looser and more playful. “When you’re a designer for a big brand, you can’t afford the pieces you’re designing,” he says. “My goal is to imagine the clothes I’m designing now on real people I might come across on the street, on the subway, on the terrace at the café.”

Kinfolk built its name in 2010 with an event space-slash-café and then got into fashion, designing tees and hoodies indebted to skate crews, graffiti, and the beastie Boys. “Clothes are as much a part of our DNA as nightlife is,” said creative director Jey Perie. “It’s easier to sell a gin-and-tonic than a $1,000 jacket, but in terms of how we shine in the world, our clothing brand has a much bigger reach.”

Yasuto Kamoshita and the streetwear icon known as Poggy orchestrate the Tokyo shop United Arrows, where tailored suits and cutting-edge casualwear somehow happily co-exist. “Our relationship is a bit like father and son,” said Poggy. “The son, who loves recent street culture, wouldn’t talk about the latest trend with him—yet the father is a great figure for the son to rely on for advice on life and the essence of things.”

“We’re proud of the decade of support and creativity that this program has generated in the fashion world, celebrating the brightest lights and freshest talents in the business, and we intend to keep the collaborations surprising and vibrant,” said Nelson. “So to launch our next decade, we decided to take the whole thing global.”

“Gap is excited to continue our partnership with GQ and celebrate the top emerging menswear talent from all over the world,” added Wendi Goldman, Gap executive vice president and chief product officer. “As a global brand it feels like a natural evolution of our partnership with GQ to tap into emerging design talent internationally as well as within the U.S. We look forward to bringing their unique design perspectives to our discerning customers.”