GQ announces Best New Menswear Designers….well, kinda new

This morning GQ announced the nominees for the best new menswear designer in America for 2010.  I always like this list for two reasons.  One, they always acknowledge American brands (sometimes foreign designers) and two, they usually throw out a few brands that most guys  can afford.  The six nominees, plus my thoughts and favorite to win, are as follows.

Burkman Bros designers Doug and Ben Burkman

These guys started out with your run of the mill great shirt, and added other casual pieces along the way.   I have checked them out at Barney’s in the past and I feel like it is another great piece of menswear that is just way overpriced.  In my opinion for about a third of the price you can get a J. Crew piece and call it a day.

Billy Reid

Being a former employee of Billy Reid I have the most hands on experience with this designer out of all the nominees.  I love this guy’s stuff, it has the perfect mix of preppy and southern and workwear of anything I have seen, which seems to be what a lot of designers are attempting right now.  With his seven stores and wholesale, this is probably the second most accesible designer on this list behind J. Crew of course. I think the recent marketing campaign is a little scary with the civil war beards and pale legs, and sometimes the stuff seems a bit overpriced, but other than that I think he is a very worthy competitor and is deserving of all the attention he has been receiving.

One question though, Billy Reid has been designing for a handful of years now, almost 8 years I believe, so how does he get nominated for best NEW designer?…..just a thought.

Richard Chai

image courtesy of GQ.com

This is one of the new guys to the menswear game (in the center above.)  He has been designing for women for a while now, but last spring marked his debut for menswear.  I have not seen his stuff first hand, but judging from his runway show this stuff is for the fashion crowd.

Caulfield Preparatory designer Vincent Flumiani

I’m not gonna lie, I had never even heard of this brand until yesterday when Unabashedly Prep mentioned them on his blog (nice call by the way.)  I am split on this one as I have never seen it in person.  It seems to have potential to be a great preppy brand, but it also seems to be overpriced and could just be another copy of all things J. Crew and Ralph Lauren Rugby.  Only time will tell.

Unis designer Eunice Lee

This is a brand that I like, a lot.  I throw them in the same category as Steven Alan, great basic pieces done better.  The fit is just better, the quality is just better, the color’s are cooler, and even though it is basic it still get’s noticed.  I haven’t been around this brand near as much as I would like to, but they seem to know what they are doing.  And once again I ask why a 9 year old company is nominated?  I don’t know if the designer is new or not though.

J.Crew menswear designer Frank Muytjens

J Crew has really changed the game recently.  If the voting is based on who has changed the way men dress this past year then Frank Muytjens should win hands down.  Now I believe there is a whole team of people over at J. Crew to blame for the great things, but Frank is definitely the guy picked to make it happen by CEO Mickey Drexler. (a legend in his own right)  Because of them every soccer dad is sporting chambray shirts and red-wing boots this winter, and come summer they will be wearing madras and sperry’s.  Not to many No major chain store has the respect that J. Crew has from me, and therefore J. Crew is Fine Times pick this year.

By the way, for those thinking “geez, J. Crew has been around forever” should remember that Frank is the one nominated and he is the NEW thing at J. Crew.

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