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Everything You Need to Know About GQ Best New Menswear Designer in America All-Star John Elliott

Best New Menswear Designers of AmericaEverything You Need to Know About Best New Menswear Designers in America All-Star John Elliott

The white-hot designer lets us in on what keeps his brand moving forward—and the one item from his new Gap collaboration he’s most excited about.

Name: John Elliott

Established: 2012

In one sentence, describe your brand.
American sportswear company.

If you could go back and give yourself advice when you started your company, what would it be?
Listen to Aaron more. (My business partner).

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Leather jacket, $595

What—other than location, of course—makes your brand American?
The values and attitude. We have a very diverse team and a diverse sense of values and tastes. It gives us a real representation of what it's like to be American. Our office is a melting pot, our collections are unpredictable, and we are very curious, which is inherently American.

What was the second BNMDA experience like compared to the first?
Challenging. I had less time to dedicate to it, and it’s never easy when you’re on the road to meet deadlines, when you want to pour more into something you care about. But for Jim Moore and GQ, you get it done.

What is your favorite piece from your Gap collection, and why?
The destroyed black jeans. They turned out very similar to our Zinc wash, and I think our denim program is one of the highlights of our assortment.

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Ripped-knee skinny jeans, $110.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned in your career?
Resiliency. Never getting too high or too low, and continuing to work and to stay hungry.

What’s the best thing about being a menswear designer right now?
Freedom. As a curious person, the opportunity for expression. The market is very open to new ideas, and as a result you can explore, whereas in the past you may have been labeled or pigeonholed as one type of brand. That’s not the case anymore.

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Dual-zip hoodie, $89. Double-layer tee, $39.95.

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Backpack, $120.

What’s the most challenging thing?
It’s what I love to do, so it requires a lot of hours and travel, but I’m very thankful for my life.

What is the biggest change you’ve seen with your customers since you started your business?
At first we were a niche and cult brand that had a following of 20-, 30-year-old men, but that has now opened up to a wider age range, unisex, and ages 13 to 55.

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What’s the one item every man needs for fall 2016?
Something you’re going to wear every day, so a good pair of jeans.

Shop the GQ for Gap John Elliott collection:

Up Next: How John Elliott Went From Upstart to All-Star

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