The 25 most important people in menswear right now

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25 most important people in menswear right now
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The 25 most important people in menswear right now

Like J.W. Anderson before him, Craig Green is a designer who appears to have leapt fully formed from London's petri dish. First at Lulu Kennedy's MAN shows, then at his SS/15 London Collections: Men own-show debut, this Central Saint Martins alumnus follows a seductively reductive creative process, by first asking hard questions—what are our clothes for? What is their relationship to us and the world they shield us from? Do we carry them or do they carry us?—and then shaping his answers via a sensibility informed by sculpture, cinema, and the unblinking ethos of his teacher, the late Louise Wilson. True, it was partly in her memory that so many in the audience wept at Green's show last June, but the fact that his collection made them think of her is a huge compliment. —Luke Leitch
Founders and buyers, Très Bien

If the current moment in menswear can be defined by the ease and fluency with which it oscillates between high fashion and street, tailored and utterly casual, then the Hogeman brothers should be credited as the influencers-in-chief. Très Bien isn't the first or only menswear shop to stock Nike alongside designers like Dries Van Noten, but it's certainly where the mix has been most refined. With a burgeoning in-house line and their regular presence at fashion weeks and in showrooms around the world, Simon and Hannes are leading the direction for menswear right now.—Noah Johnson

Done for pleasure and with heart, Raf Simons' menswear still emanates youthful enthusiasm even now, a full two decades after he launched the line. Yes, his career has since mushroomed into one of fashion's weightiest—Dior and Dior Couture via Jil Sander (at its clinically exuberant best)—but when he is designing for his own label and his own gender, Simons plays with precision and lightness. From an AW/14 collaboration with Sterling Ruby to an SS/15 collection whose decorative heart was a collage of his own life experience, Simons artistry is at its most relaxedly authentic in menswear—check the collabs with Fred Perry and Adidas, too. —LL

Founders, Our Legacy

Our Legacy has quietly grown to become the brand of the moment. If you aren't already wearing it, you probably should be, and will soon. With three stores in Sweden and one opened recently in London—in addition to being stocked at most of the best menswear shops around the world—Christopher Nying (top left) and Jockum Hallin's (top center) anonymous basics brand has come into its own (and has brought on a third owner, Richardos Klarén, top right). The collection ranges from unpretentious and understated (oxford shirts and raw denim jeans) to ostentatious and nearly ridiculous (in a tasteful way, of course). The magic is that they do it without taking matters of clothes too seriously. A sense of humor is too often missing from the men's shopping/dressing experience, and Our Legacy is doing good work breaking that ice with offbeat cues like zebra-print shirts, drawstring suit trousers, and pony-hair jackets. —NJ

Creative director, Saint Laurent

What is left to say about Hedi Slimane's intensely scrutinized revitalization of Saint Laurent? One thing that hasn't perhaps received enough comment is the precision of the clothes themselves. Cut, proportion, fabric, and, not least important, the refusal to embellish beyond what is necessary—Slimane nails these elements in almost every garment. None of which might sound extraordinary, till you realize how often other designers get those things wrong. —Dirk Standen

Founder and designer, Visvim

Visvim is among the most covetable and least accessible (in terms of price and distribution) of the cult labels that get menswear aficionados all hot and bothered. For those reasons, it is also among the most knocked off, though few brands are able to achieve the organic, handmade quality that makes Hiroki Nakamura's efforts exceptional. The founder and designer remains peerless when it comes to establishing trends that will years later trickle down to the masses. Rich indigo-dyed cotton, Japanese printed textiles, Native American-inspired details, repurposed military clothes, patchwork denim—the list of Visvim signatures that can now be found in malls and department stores around the world is long and growing. —NJ


It's not hard to imagine an alternate reality in which the working male adopts Owens' functional but dramatic tunics, drop-crotch shorts, and platform sneakers as his daily uniform, disdaining the suit and tie for the fripperies they are. Until that day comes, Owens stands as proof that you can develop a large and lucrative niche as an iconoclast, that being a gun for hire for a big house is not the only way. A young talent like Craig Green might pay heed. —DS

Creative director, Adidas

You can credit Raf Simons and Phoebe Philo for making Stan Smiths eternally chic, but behind the scenes at Adidas stands Dirk Schonberger, a man with the design chops and instincts to know how to make a low-key statement into a full-blown phenomenon. It's not a coincidence nor the "normcore" trend that made the iconic white sneaker the de facto fashion footwear of 2014. Schonberger had a hand in that. And thanks to his melting-pot vision, no other brand has managed to assemble a lineup of designers and celebrities as stellar as Adidas'—where else could you find Jeremy Scott, Rick Owens, Mary Katrantzou, Pharrell Williams, and Kanye West under one roof? —NJ

CEO, Nike

While Adidas is busy racking up fashion cred by recruiting designers to build their own collections with the brand, Nike continues to do what it does best: make sneakers people really want. It's been said that Nike is the best marketing brand in the world. And while no doubt Nike performance gear is top-notch for serious athletes, manufacturing desire is the brand's real specialty. Mark Parker's message has been consistent and direct: Innovation comes first, even when he's collaborating with legends like Tinker Hatfield and Fragment Design founder Hiroshi Fujiwara on the fashion-forward HTM collection. Designer collabs have been few and far between, but when they land, they land hard—Riccardo Tisci's Air Force 1 collection is proof. —NJ

Menswear designer, Hermès

Where the women's side of the Hermès universe has seen the arrival and departure of a number of creative directors, including Jean Paul Gaultier; Christophe Lemaire; and the latest incumbent, Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski, the men's side has for two decades been the domain of Véronique Nichanian—and it's indisputably benefited from the continuity. Elegant but never stuffy, ultra-refined and priced to match, Nichanian's clothes may be out of reach for most men, but should our boat ever come in, we like to think we'd helm it in something with an Hermès label—though perhaps not a crocodile leather shirt. —DS

Founder, Bianca Chandôn

As a pro skateboarder with a Nike deal and a significant amount of screen time in the recent Supreme video, Alex Olson didn't choose an easy route with his brand Bianca Chandôn (and the offshoot, Call Me 917). Inspired by club culture of the '70s and '80s, Olson brought aspects of the LGBT world into the worlds of skate and streetwear—proceeds from a recent series in collaboration with the legendary NY club Paradise Garage were donated to the Gay Men's Health Crisis. The result is an improbable success, winning fans like Virgil Abloh and real estate on some of the best sales floors in the world, including Dover Street Market. —NJ

Men's fashion director, Bergdorf Goodman

If you only knew Bruce Pask by his frequent appearances on men's style blogs, you'd know he has a certain flair with facial hair and desert boots. But there's more to the culturally omnivorous Arizona native. He became a prime example of the edit-to-retail migration when he recently left T magazine for the men's fashion director role at Bergdorf Goodman, and now that he's setting the tone at the sharp end of U.S. luxury retailing, he's increasingly one to watch. —DS

Designer, The Elder Statesman

Take a look at the photos from the recent opening of The Elder Statesman store in L.A. You'll see the city's cool crowd—cool as in no movie stars—wearing Greg Chait's expensive but understated cashmere sweaters like they're sweatshirts while eating tacos and drinking beer. It's the definition of chill and it's the definition of the good life circa 2015. Which is another way of saying that Chait has the makings of a global lifestyle brand on his hands. That's a lot of expectation to place on what up to this point has been mostly a purveyor of fine knits. But, hey, Ralph Lauren started with an even narrower category—neckties—and we know how that turned out. —DS

Head of design, Zegna

When Gildo Zegna tapped Stefano Pilati as creative pilot at Zegna, Italy's prime titan of tailoring, many outside the company—and quite possibly inside it, as well—assumed that his brief was to focus on the feminine. Yet the slow-and-steady development of Zegna's womenswear label, Agnona, has since been comprehensively eclipsed by the former YSL man's focus on Ermenegildo Zegna Couture. Beneath the big-budget bells and whistles at what has become Milan's most lavish menswear production, Pilati is applying himself to squaring a tricky circle: softening the boundaries of a menswear dialect fundamentally rooted in the conventional and business-appropriate. As Pilati himself puts it: "We want to introduce customers to something a bit more contemporary and a bit less—how can I say it?—conformist." —LL


Gosha Rubchinskiy made his runway debut in Paris last year for his Spring 2015 collection (and his first review), thanks to production and distribution support from Comme des Garçons. And it's no mistake that the mother of all subversive brands has Rubchinskiy's back. His post-Soviet skate-kid style mixes the street cool of a brand like Supreme with the politically charged urgency seen in some of Rei Kawakubo's collections, and it feels like exactly what we need right now.—NJ
Artist and restaurateur

The impeccable wardrobe, the glamorous marriages, the gloriously theatrical Mr. Chow restaurants—Michael Chow has practiced the art of living for five decades. But all along he has also been a trained, if largely not practicing and non-exhibiting, artist. That's set to change on January 23 with the opening of Michael Chow: Voice for My Fatherat Beijing's UCCA, a three-part exhibition consisting of his own new paintings; his legendary collection of work by other artists like Ruscha, Hockney, and Basquiat; and images of Chow's father, a revered Beijing opera actor. While the show will reveal new sides to Chow, it should also put him back on the map for menswear aficionados and designers—though we trust his recent predilection for jeans and hoodies is a passing phase and he will soon revert to his custom Hermès suits. —DS

Founder, Pigalle

The momentum has only been building for Stéphane Ashpool's Paris-based brand. It started with a much-hyped box logo T-shirt, and has since exploded into a full-blown Nike collection and a basketball court in the ninth arrondissement, where Ashpool has two Pigalle shops. Fusing sport and fashion is nothing new in menswear, but rarely is it done in such good taste—Ashpool mixes style with hoops in a way that only makes both look better. —NJ


One of the more intriguing undercurrents in menswear of late has been the erasing of the line between men's and women's clothes. As a creative consultant to J.W. Anderson and to subtler degree via his styling of Lanvin's menswear shows, Benjamin Bruno has been at the forefront of this movement. Trained under Carine Roitfeld at Paris Vogue, he does androgyny with such austere exactitude that you could almost believe that an off-the-shoulder crop top could become a mainstream item for dudes. —DS

Hosts, Fashion Bros!

The fashion bro—the straight, Twitter-addled, rap-affected, style-curious, young male consumer—has finally been given a face and a voice—two of them, actually. In the aptly named Web video series Fashion Bros!, James Harris and Lawrence Schlossman eviscerate wannabe fashion bros; brag and belittle each other about swag; complain endlessly about how miserable their jobs are; and interview celebrity guests, mostly rappers—Migos, Makonnen, and A$AP Ferg among them—about their sexual habits. Irreverent is an understatement. Harris and Schlossman are doing their best to offend just about anyone who dares wear clothes, but, as we all know, nothing is cooler than not giving a fuck. By remaining just outside the decorum and politics of men's fashion, they have managed to do something far more interesting: produce a funny and addictive show about menswear. Now that's quite an achievement. —NJ

Designer, Kilgour

Tailoring allows for some variables, but it takes guts to explore them. After all, the source code for suiting is essentially fixed. That is why the return of Carlo Brandelli to the helm of Savile Row's Kilgour is worth watching. A Londoner of Italian immigrant stock, Brandelli grew up suffused in Mastroianni worship. His sensibility is that of an installation artist, and his irreverence deeply considered. First at Squire (his own label), then Kilgour (before it was sold and he resigned), Brandelli anticipated Slimane and Simons, stripping back the English suit by slimming it, rationalizing it, and thus sleekening it. Back in the game, he is already rewriting the lapel and pitching the business suit as a fully realized piece of sportswear. —LL

Designers, Casely-Hayford

Now not too far off 60, Joe Casely-Hayford has spent decades building an aficionado's label that adroitly counterpoints English classicism and irreverence—and a client list that has included The Clash and Lou Reed—seen via a laconically detached eye. As he himself puts it: "As a black kid in Britain, I was on the outside looking in, initially. So I remember being chased down the King's Road by rockers, and then a few years later, I was being chased up it again, but by skinheads…I've always been fascinated by English society." Three years ago, Joe recruited Charlie—his 20-something man-about-town son, who has styled for Nas and the XX—to codesign: Together, this generation-spanning partnership has hit a new sweet spot that happily combines youth with experience and appeals to clients including Sam Smith, Drake, and Michael Fassbender. Nowhere else is the terrible phrase "brand DNA" more appropriate than here. —LL

Fashion journalist

Aside from's own triumvirate of reviewers—the indispensable Tim Blanks, the cosmopolitan Angelo Flaccavento, and our newest recruit Luke Leitch—the only menswear critic we read with anything approaching relish is Charlie Porter. There are other decent critics out there, of course, but nearly all of them are womenswear experts taking a busman's holiday around the men's runways. Porter, by contrast, has a sensitivity to the particular complexities of menswear that informs his writing for the Financial Times and his own blog. He's especially alive to the dialogue between conservatism and creativity that is at the core of male fashion. The photo at left offers a hint at which side of the argument he favors in his personal style. —DS
Buyer and creative director, Kinfolk

Brick-and-mortar retail is not on the rise. At least, it doesn't seem that way. Online shopping offers too much and it's just too easy. But the growing Kinfolk empire excels when it comes to physical space—bars, nightclubs, bicycles—and what started with a few friends in Tokyo now includes a shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, with a rare and eclectic mix of men's clothing. Jey Perie (bottom right) spent five years in Japan, honing his relationships, working with brands like Bedwin & The Heartbreakers and Deluxe, before coming stateside to help Kinfolk open the shop and develop an in-house line of sportswear. Why do Perie and Kinfolk matter right now? Because if there's any hope left for the menswear boutique, it's in their hands.—NJ
Buyer, United Arrows

The behatted United Arrows buyer and director of the United Arrows & Sons offshoot has become an ubiquitous face in street style and on Instagram. A master of unexpected collaborations and offbeat streetwear discoveries, Kogi's influence is omnipresent on the Internet. His signature look—brimmed hats, logo tees, tailored jackets, and sneakers—is the uniform for aspiring cool guys. —NJ

There are still many good and even a few great photographers working for magazines, but they have all been fatally undermined by the rise of the Internet. No matter how beautiful or striking, their photos inevitably read as too static, too slow, too frozen. But Tyrone Lebon, a young London photographer who shoots for Arena Hommes + and other publications, often working in collaboration with the stylist Max Pearmain, has found a solution to this conundrum. His photos are infused with the spontaneity, creepiness, and voyeuristic glaze of the Internet, but on the printed page they also have a raw, irresistible glamour. —DS

Menswear has never been more interesting than it is right now. If you've been paying attention, then you already know that we're in a moment where traditional tailoring, streetwear, and avant-garde fashion coexist and even complement one another on the street, on the runways, and in the press. And that's significant, considering the glacial pace at which men's fashion has historically moved-going long periods of time without experiencing much change beyond the widening and narrowing of lapels, shirt collars, or pant legs.

Emerging designers are having major breakouts (Craig Green), established designers are finding new ways to break through (Raf Simons), and up-and-coming brands are breaking new ground (Our Legacy). With the Fall 2015 season upon us-shows start in London on Friday-here's our guide to the men's fashion names you need to know, a list that reflects the fluid, dynamic state of menswear in 2015.

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