New York Fashion Week: Men’s has just wrapped up its third iteration, and the city’s menswear schedule is looking a bit thinner this season. Almost a decade ago, it seemed we had achieved a new level of awareness for the #menswear movement — guys were quickly catching on that it was okay to be into clothing. Many of them had blogs, and plenty more had Tumblr.
Tumblr’s hashtags provided a unique curated feed of everything from cats to porn to yes, menswear. That’s where the #menswear tribe of the late 2000s got its name from. They were a group of dudes on the internet who were on the same sartorial wave, and they thought they would be wearing tailored suits forever. That is until they realized there is plenty more to buy and numerous other ways to enjoy men’s fashion.
Of course, other industry figures preceded this niche clique. The blogger generation idolized older industry veterans — people who put men’s style in a more casual context, and brought brands like Engineered Garments into prominence. But with the rise of Instagram and the fall of several menswear-focused publications like Details and Four Pins, the movement seems all but dead.
In actuality, it evolved into different aspects. The #menswear thing really divided the casual enthusiasts from the people who actually wanted to try and make a living in the fashion industry (spoiler alert: it’s super hard, and you’ve got to keep up with the trends).
Herein, we examine the progress of many notable figures of the #menswear scene.
Then: If you ever want to chart the life cycle of #menswear, just look at Schlossman’s personal style evolution. A New Jersey-born certified bro, he went to college at Wake Forest in North Carolina in hopes of pursuing his dream to become a super rich Wolf of Wall Street finance guy. That dream was deferred when he discovered he was terrible at math. He got into clothing as a post-college graduate who no longer wanted to look like crap, so he started the blog Sartorially Inclined in 2009, where he went in-depth on everything from Polo rugby shirts to niche Italian brands like Isaia, Boglioli, and LBM 1911.
He entered the fashion industry as a PR flack for agency BPMW, which represented brands like Tretorn, Mark McNairy, and Wolverine Boots, and also put on the Capsule tradeshow. But he really blew up on Tumblr, where he blogged and reblogged to no end on How to Talk To Girls At Parties, a name he gleaned off a Neil Gaiman short story. He mixed in Young Jeezy lyrics with photos of double-breasted sportcoats, inadvertently inspiring legions of other predominantly white dudes to do the same. He partnered up with Kevin Burrows and the two became the anonymous authors of Fuck Yeah Menswear, which took the atypical relationship between hip-hop and tailored clothing to a new level of internet ridiculousness.
Eventually he was tapped to join the editorial squad at Gilt Groupe, where he worked with some of the very people in the industry he looked up to: Nick Wooster, Tyler Thoreson, Mimi Fukuyoshi, and Josh Peskowitz. His big moment came when he was poached by Complex Media to head up a men’s site called Four Pins, which achieved absolutely nothing of great importance, but at least you can still watch old episodes of Fashion Bros! on YouTube.
Now: Post-Four Pins, Schlossman is the brand director at Grailed, where he oversees their Dry Clean Only platform, hangs out with rappers that stop by the office, and actually has work to do. He also still tweets from the Four Pins Twitter, which remains a testament to the tone and humor that made the site so great in the first place. If you miss the sound of his voice, he has a podcast, Failing Upwards, which he co-hosts with his former Fashion Bro, James Harris.
Then: Most people don’t realize Nick Wooster has been in the fashion industry longer than most #menswear nerds have been alive. You name it, and he’s probably worked there. Wooster’s career spans buying for Barneys, Neiman Marcus, and Bergdorf Goodman, design director at Ralph Lauren, and directing retail at Calvin Klein, but he really came into prominence as the Men’s Fashion Director at Neiman Marcus.
During the rise of street style photography, Wooster became one of the most snapped faces in the game. Whether he was rocking Thom Browne, Lardini, or Mark McNairy (who he once walked for), the Woost God was guaranteed to get snapped in it.
Wooster took the #menswear aesthetic to a larger platform when he was appointed as Senior Vice President of product development at JC Penny, where he gave their offerings a well-needed overhaul. Everything from slim oxford shirts to bright “blogger blue” chinos were made instantly affordable, although it didn’t exactly save JC Penney’s business, and Wooster was out after less than a year on the job.
Now: A self-professed “free agent,” Wooster is able to leverage his insane following to work on a variety of projects, including some TV commercials for men’s make-up brands in Asia. He has an ongoing collaboration with Italian label Lardini, and even has a Greats sneaker named after him.
Then: Michael Williams is the godfather of the #menswear scene. In 2007 he started his blog A Continuous Lean, where he waxed nostalgic about all things made in America, spreading the gospel of Alden shoes, Filson luggage, and L.L. Bean duck boots. He influenced other similarly minded dudes to start blogs of their own, geeking out about things like Italian suits and double-monk strap shoes. This culminated in the “Pop-Up Flea,” a recurring market for honestly made wares.
Now: Williams is a partner at PR firm Paul + Williams, where he represents many of the authentic brands he is so passionate about. Filson, Patagonia, and Levi’s are among his top clients. Like any responsible blogger, he puts a disclaimer on any ACL posts that concern a client of his — although he works with tons of unaffiliated brands and companies that he truly appreciates. He took some time off from posting himself, and hired writers like Jake Gallagher and David Coggins to contribute content on his behalf, but now Williams has returned back to the helm at ACL, going back to writing about things that truly matter to him.
Then: #Menswear’s cheekiest designer, McNairy was once the creative director of storied Ivy League clothier J. Press. He also had a few brands prior to starting his namesake line, like 68 & Bros. and McNairy Bros. He ushered in a new era of well-made, statement footwear, starting with Red Brick Soul: a line that combined the clay red soles often seen on white buck oxfords with silhouettes like navy chukkas.
That led to Mark McNairy New Amsterdam, a shoe line with chunky crepe-soled double monk-strap shoes made of pebbled leather, sleek black oxfords with bright neon soles, and eventually became a full collection of clothes that mixed prep and military staples with McNairy’s dark sense of humor. At its peak, McNairy had guys like Pusha T and Travis Scott closing his fashion shows, and eventually started working on a higher-end Billionaires Boys Club sub-label, BBC Black, which lasted for a few seasons.
Now: Mark McNairy has left the NY area to head west, where he joined California-based clothing label Five Four as head designer. He worked with his new employer to debut New Republic, a line of affordable, pared-down footwear that ranges from $58-$98 a pop.
He also released a book: Fuck Ivy (And Everything Else), a parodical style guide infused with his own acerbic wit, as well as a capsule collection with Original Chuck.
Shimon and Ariel Ovadia
Then: Another label that emerged from the #menswear scene, Ovadia & Sons began when brothers Ariel and Shimon met Ralph Lauren at a chance meeting in the Hamptons. ‘Lo heads from New York, the brothers grew up in the fashion industry, with Ralph’s old-school garment hustler’s spirit running through their veins.
They made a name for themselves with handsome, perfectly-tailored suiting, and chunky sweaters that would make your grandpa jealous. The brand rapidly spread through the tight-knit #menswear sphere, thanks in no part to their gorgeous, Tumblr-ready lookbooks.
Now: Ovadia & Sons still makes plenty of tailoring, but like much of the #menswear scene, it has evolved in scope, becoming a fully-fledged, commercially successful label. Nowadays you’ll find a double-zip bomber jacket or luxe hoodie in the line, alongside the tailored menswear that got them in the spotlight. It isn’t uncommon to see their wares on actors like Bradley Cooper or stylish athletes like Victor Cruz and Chris Paul.
Then: Tommy Ton became the #menswear scene’s de facto street style photographer. For a time, he dominated the feeds, shooting for Style.com and GQ, and if you heard his shutter snap in your general direction, you felt a little bit better about yourself, a feeling magnified by 1,000% if you ended up making the site itself.
Ton’s imagery is so influential that his street style shot of Kanye West and company outside of the COMME des GARCONS show in Paris was actually parodied by South Park. He has a signature style of detail-oriented photography that focuses on what makes garments special, taking the focus away from high-profile wearers and making the clothes the real heroes. With a near-encyclopedic knowledge of fashion and an earnest appreciation for gear that hasn’t faded with time, Ton remains one of the industry’s most respected photographers.
Now: After Style.com folded and GQ restructured its content, Ton decided to focus more on his own thing, shooting campaigns and moving away from his street style blog, Jak and Jil, to the more polished TommyTon.com. His signature style has inspired a whole generation of street style photographers, and his images have been imitated (but never bettered) in big ad campaigns.
Then: Eugene Tong is a real-life version of the guys from How to Make It In America. Equally informed by street culture and high fashion, he hustled his way to the top, starting as a freelance fashion assistant, hauling racks and samples around the city, eventually landing a job as the Associate Market Editor at Cargo, a Conde Nast shopping-focused menswear magazine originally meant to compete with the similarly-themed Complex.
Cargo shuttered after a few years, and Tong spent the next decade of his career at Details, where he put in a serious amount of time and dedication to eventually become the publication’s Style Director. In a time where people are more willing to work for themselves and hop around different employers, Tong’s dedication to Details is laudatory. He became a street style fixture because of the pioneering way he mixed hype brands like Supreme with grail-worthy pieces from Dries Van Noten, long before the average hypebeast knew who Raf Simons was.
Now: Details shuttered in 2015, and Tong is currently a freelance stylist and fashion consultant. His work can be seen on the runways at some of New York Fashion Week: Men’s most-anticipated shows, like Public School and John Elliott.
Then: Listen to the kids, man. Gallagher gets a lot of good-natured ribbing for his unbridled enthusiasm for clothing and his comparatively young age, but through his blog Wax Wane, he evolved into a true aesthete with an eye for details and the eloquence with which to perfectly describe them.
For a time, he had a regular GQ column called “Dropping Knowledge,” where he’d talk about everything from the history of glen checks to driving shoes. His passion for menswear and strong foundational knowledge base got him a gig as one of the main writers for A Continuous Lean, where he’d blog on behalf of #menswear godfather Michael Williams.
Now: Gallagher is currently living the dream as the Men’s Fashion Editor of Off Duty in The Wall Street Journal, which means he gets to travel to all the men’s fashion weeks around the world and no longer has to sneak his way onto the front row.
Then: Josh Peskowitz is one of the menswear OGs that the early blogger guys really looked up to. A former editor at Fader, he started as an intern while moonlighting at Urban Outfitters to pay the bills. He was brought on full-time as the publication’s fashion coordinator, and then made several moves in the publishing industry, including stints at short-lived magazine Cargo (where he worked with talents like Eugene Tong and Bruce Pask), Esquire, and Vibe, before landing at men.style.com.
The term “swagger” is often abused these days, but it’s totally what Pesko’s vibe is about. One need only watch old men.style.com videos like the “In the Closet” series, where he makes a double-faced Etro scarf actually look cool. He headed over to Gilt as the Men’s Style Director after that, and became even more of a street style favorite for photographers like Tommy Ton. After the closure of Park & Bond, Pesko became the Men’s Fashion Director at Bloomingdale’s.
Now: Pesko left Bloomingdale’s to answer a call to the west. He co-founded menswear shop Magasin earlier this year, where he sells the covetable labels that inform his unique sense of personal style. The shop recently released a Levi’s collaboration that was limited to just 40 pairs.
Then: Hotchkiss—or “Hotch” as he’s known by his friends—started out with a humble blog on golf style and golf clothing called The Khaki Crusader. His big break came about when he started working for GQ, the American barometer of all things menswear.
At the helm of their now-defunct style blog, The GQ Eye, he helped legitimize the #menswear movement on a larger platform by highlighting the brands he and his friends were geeking out over. Along the way, he picked up a penchant for photography, teaming up with Justin Chung to produce striking online editorials for GQ. He continued his work behind the scenes, even helping out with the book Fuck Yeah Menswear.
Now: Hotch remains more behind-the-scenes than in the spotlight, having eked out a successful career as a copywriter, with brands like J. Crew, Suitsupply, and Sperry Topsider under his belt. He still contributes to GQ on a semi-regular basis, mainly on special issues like What to Wear Now and the GQ Style imprint. He is also working on his first novel.
Then: Justin Chung is a Bay Area kid who moved to NYC to pursue his career as a photographer, a mission he achieved all too well. Starting out with street style, his easygoing demeanor and immense talent were a boon to his career, leading to him shooting a bevy of campaigns and lookbooks for brands like Ovadia & Sons, GANT Rugger, Unis, and Mark McNairy.
Now: Chung’s left his street style past behind and moved exclusively to shooting high-end campaigns and editorials for lifestyle magazines like Kinfolk and Cereal. His clients include Aime Leon Dore, Norse Projects, J. Crew, and Club Monaco. In 2015, he released his first book, Faculty Department, a heavy tome documenting global creatives in his signature style. Much of the book’s copy was provided by Sean Hotchkiss.
Then: Jonathan Evans ran a blog called Black and Tanned NY, where he talked extensively about things like leather jackets, watch straps (HA, those were hot for a month), and knit ties. He had a day job in advertising before heading over to Gilt Groupe to become their men’s editor — he was actually the first of the #menswear clique to go from fanboy to legit employee.
Now: Evans left Gilt to join the squad at Esquire magazine, before leaving for a brief stint as the fashion director of East Dane, Amazon’s menswear e-commerce site. He left the fast-paced world of e-commerce and returned to the editorial realm, and he is currently is the senior style editor for Esquire.com.
Then: A lawyer by day, Brian Trunzo moonlights as a critical menswear enthusiast, speaking his mind on his Tumblr, Nice Try Bro, which is full of spot-on insults and a meta, self-aware sense of humor. While taking the piss out of fashion isn’t new, Trunzo adds a welcome voice to the conversation, making smart, pointed commentary that isn’t afraid to tell it like it is.
His love of menswear culminated in the founding of Carson Street Clothiers with childhood friend and fellow lawyer Matt Breen. The short-lived SoHo shop peddled wares like unconstructed sportcoats, crisp oxford shirts, and easy-wearing chinos, attracting a consistent customer base.
Now: Carson Street moved locations to a quieter strip of SoHo in 2016, and its larger space reflected a new aesthetic of design-focused labels like Craig Green, Jil Sander, Lemaire, and J.W. Anderson. Trunzo got tired of the retail game and decided to leave the store, and shortly after, Carson Street co-founder Matt Breen announced that the shop would close its doors. Currently, Trunzo is a freelance consultant, with clients like menswear tradeshow Liberty Fairs.
Then: Joshua Kissi and Travis Gumbs are two native New Yorkers who are big into sneakers and gear. Kissi frequented the Hypebeast forums, posting fit pics with covetable kicks and graphic tees. The two eventually launched their own blog, Street Etiquette, which quickly gained traction thanks to its awesome, dressed-up fits and excellent photography. They also got tapped by Ronnie Fieg to design some collaborative shoes with Sebago.
The duo infused some much-needed diversity into the predominantly white #menswear crowd, and was integral in providing validation and representation for stylish black youths and other POCs. No doubt they inspired many who wouldn’t typically be embraced by the predominantly white paradigm.
Now: The Street Etiquette duo has leveraged their online success into a creative agency, with a client roster that includes the Liberty Fairs tradeshow, adidas, and even Starbucks. In addition, they leverage their high follower count for strategic product placement on Instagram.
Tyler Thoreson and Dirk Standen
Then: A lot of the early #menswear bloggers were avid fans of men.style.com. It got guys talking about suit canvassing the way they talk about batting averages, and much of that tone was established by the site’s Editor-In-Chief, Dirk Standen, and Executive Editor, Tyler Thoreson.
One of the now-defunct site’s best pieces was an April Fool’s prank about a kid clothing designer, which was actually Thoreson’s son. Eventually, men.style.com was folded into the GQ site, and many of its gems have been lost in the internet ether.
Now: Thoreson went to Gilt Groupe to oversee their men’s editorial content. He was instrumental in launching Park & Bond, an e-commerce site with #menswear guys in mind. When Park & Bond folded, Thoreson went on to spearhead Gilt’s other men’s properties before leaving the company for Ralph Lauren, where he is currently the VP and Editor-in-Chief of Digital.
Standen stayed on the Style.com team as EIC, covering both men’s and women’s collections. The site remained a highly influential fashion destination, with talented writers like Tim Blanks and Matthew Schneier offering some of the industries best critiques and insights. Standen took the same detail-oriented, culturally fluent language of men.style.com and legitmized it on a larger platform.
Eventually, style.com itself folded (along with its short-lived print magazine), and Standen moved on to other positions within Conde Nast. He is currently the Editor-In-Chief of 23 Stories, Conde Nast’s native branding arm.
Then: Minami “Mimi” Fukuyoshi is a low-key legend who has worked behind-the-scenes in the menswear industry for years. She got her start as a buyer at Bloomingdale’s, where she set a precedent by introducing some of #menswear’s most lauded brands to the market long before they blew up — Mimi pretty much discovered Engineered Garments when it was just a whisper on Internet forums.
After over a decade at Bloomingdale’s, Mimi hopped over to Gilt Groupe to oversee their menswear business, linking up with a power team of industry heavyweights that included Josh Peskowitz, Nick Wooster, Tyler Thoreson, and some guy named Lawrence Schlossman.
Now: Fukuyoshi left Gilt to join the Bergdorf Goodman team as the VP of men’s sportswear and shoes. She has since left the menswear world, and currently oversees BG’s womenswear offerings.
Then: Sunjatha “Sune” Conta may not be a recognizable name, but you’ve definitely seen his face. For a time he was the online model at Trés Bien, where his awesome hair and sample-sized frame championed the fire jawnz on offer from the popular men’s store. Sune gathered a micro-following online thanks to his striking looks and fire ’fits — Four Pins even did an interview with the affable Swede.
Now: Sune no longer works at Trés Bien, and their models now vary from season to season. These days he’s sort of a Malmo man-about-town, spinning at parties and making music with his group, Urban Ninjas. He describes their sound as “RnD,” short for rhythm-and-dance. They released a self-produced album, and Conta is reportedly working on some solo material as well.
Jesse Thorn and Derek Guy
Then: Jesse Thorn is a public radio personality with an appreciation for classic menswear. Derek Guy is an equally obsessive clothing nerd who has his own blog, Die Workwear! Through Put This On, these guys brought menswear blogging back to its roots at a time when attitudes and aesthetics were shifting more towards streetwear, sneakers, and super-hyped shit. There was a short-lived web series where Thorn interviewed guys like Dallas Penn about the Lo Lifes, and visited storied factories like North Carolina’s Cone Denim.
Now: Put This On has stayed consistent with its focus on the classics, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s actually super refreshing in a content paradigm where we’re otherwise inundated with things we are constantly told are gonna be hot. They are among the last #menswear bloggers that have held onto a traditionally tailored aesthetic, and there will always be a place for that in menswear.