Today’s hype-fueled fashion landscape yields a mountain of fresh menswear drops every month. Which is why every issue of GQ now includes a guide to the best of the best new gear as it hits stores. June is all about the Triple S of summer: sunglasses (like the royally good pair by Cutler & Gross and Paul Smith), sandals (like Dries Van Noten’s crunchy-chic strappy versions), and swimsuits (scroll down for the seven flyest pairs money can buy). Come shop with us.
Today, the blueprint for starting and running a fashion brand isn’t black and white. These designers have built strong labels, and they haven’t hit 30. Here’s how they did it.
The fashion business has changed quickly over the past few years, and the blueprints set by designers like Ralph Lauren or Bobby Hundreds are, in many ways, no longer applicable. It’s difficult to say whether younger designers today have it easier or harder than their predecessors, but with stores closing, an oversaturation of product, and consumers’ continuous desire for something new, standing out and running a viable business takes more than a design degree and a lot of money.
To run a fashion line today you have to be an inventive designer, a nimble entrepreneur, and a savvy storyteller. Everyone in the list below is in their 20s, but each of their brands is at a different phase. There’s Esper, 25, from Come Back as a Flower, who only started his line a few months ago but has received early co-signs from Big Sean and ASAP Rocky and is figuring out how to work with retailers in an environmentally friendly way. Then there’s Michael Cherman, 28, who started a successful brand, ICNY, then lost control of it because of an investor. So he introduced Chinatown Market, a line that’s grown quickly and sits in retailers ranging from Urban Outfitters to Browns.
READ MORE: https://www.complex.com/style/
True Religion used to be the denim brand of choice for rappers like Jim Jones—the jeans were a key part of his uniform during the “We Fly High (Ballin’)” era—and 2 Chainz, who released a mixtape in 2011 named T.R.U. REALigion. According to Forbes, between 2007 and 2012, True Religion’s revenues almost tripled, reaching $490 million in 2013. But then the line, best known for its horseshoe pocket embroidery and white stitching, fell off.
They are hoping Allen Onyia, who co-founded UpscaleHype in
2008, can usher in a new chapter for the brand as artistic director for
the men’s and women’s collections. Onyia, who is based in Houston, has
no formal design experience, but he’s spent the last decade identifying
what celebrities and athletes like LeBron James, ASAP Rocky, and
Pharrell Williams are wearing—and building relationships with them.
“I wasn’t necessarily looking for somebody who’s got technical design chops because I’ve got a whole design team here that has that,” said Chelsea Grayson, True Religion’s chief executive officer, who joined last November and was previously the CEO at American Apparel. “For me, it was about looking at the person and saying, ‘How does this person live every day authentically? How is this person dressing themselves?’ Because if you’re not dressing yourself in the way that I want to dress my customer, how can you possibly relate to my customer organically?”