GQ’s Best New Menswear Designer in America 2012

I met Mark McNairy in an office in the Garment Center in 2005. During our first encounter I distinctly remember thinking that he hated me. I also remembered thinking that I wasn’t so sure about him either. After a short while I realized that McNairy was not only one of the funniest people I had ever met, he is also one of the most talented. Over the past seven years of working with him I’ve come to appreciate the way in which Mark sees the world. I love the the crazy twist he puts on the classics and I’ve come to terms with the fact that Mark can create great designs so easily, a skill I don’t seem to possess.

Thinking back, I also remembered working with Mark at J.Press and trying so hard to get people to appreciate and love the clothes he made as much as I did. In those days the battles were hard fought and not always won, but there were bits and pieces of press and attention. I started ACL in December of 2007 and it only took me about a month to make my first mention of Mark. At that point he was working on several projects, all of which I was on-board with. Even at that point he had been around much longer than I had, and I would be full of shit if I didn’t admit that I learned a lot of what I know from Mark. We bonded over Ivy style, over made in the USA and all sorts of other random things. When I made my first trip to Japan Mark was the one who showed me the ropes. He was the friend who woke me up everyday with instant coffee and cigarettes. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to how much Mark has influenced ACL and my own personal style.

It is all of these things that makes me so proud of the recognition and attention that Mark is getting today with his nomination as one of GQ’s best new menswear designers in America. It’s true that McNairy isn’t exactly new (the guy is basically old enough to be my dad – sorry buddy), but he certainly is one of the best. To see the attention and praise Mark has received over the past few years has been equal parts incredible and inspiring. It is also entirely deserved.

The other nominees for GQ’s BNMDA are: Saturdays, BLK DNM, Ian Velardi, Ovadia & Sons and Todd Snyder – all good brands with talented folks at the helm. All of the nominated designers will be contributing to a special collection for the GAP, a new partner for GQ’s six year old contest.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I am pulling most for Mark. It’s success that is long over due and definitely deserved.

Comments on “GQ’s Best New Menswear Designer in America 2012

    Andrew Payne on February 23, 2012 6:32 AM:

    Good for Mark! He more than deserves the recognition. There are a lot of designers out there who produce good-looking collections, but more as a stylist or merchandiser would offer. Mark actually designs. From the fabrics to the detailing, from the fit to the specific items themselves. His collections are always interesting, stylish and new. New, being the key word. More power to you, Mark. Congratulations.

    Ramalhoni on February 23, 2012 6:47 AM:

    Definitely Deserved! I concur … An Amazing designer a true influence on me too .

    Le Brook on February 23, 2012 8:05 AM:

    Love this grump!
    Sick ballz chopper!

    Tom Johnson on February 23, 2012 8:38 AM:

    Hard to take seriously someone who can’t dress himself. He looks like a clown in that photo.

    greg chapman on February 23, 2012 8:55 AM:

    He looks like a long haired lover from Liverpool!

    Daniel on February 23, 2012 11:17 AM:

    I know it’s the internet and I shouldn’t be surprised by now, but I can’t understand what possesses people to go out of their way to talk shit on a comment board. “Tom”, instead of slagging your host’s friend, how about you reevaluate the way the man dresses, and determine why someone else with a different taste set than yours appreciates his clothing enough nominate him for an award?

    Love MMcN, and hope he wins.

    Berty Morales on February 23, 2012 5:40 PM:

    Very good for Mark…Thanks for sharing!

    jiheison on February 23, 2012 7:32 PM:

    Hard to ignore his accomplishments over the last few years, regardless of what one thinks of his personal attire.

    ronan on February 24, 2012 3:27 AM:

    (the guy is basically old enough to be my dad — sorry buddy) = sorry, but the comment is not very fair…

    a french reader of your blog, that could alos be your dad…

    Richard Williams on February 24, 2012 10:12 AM:

    “Hard to take seriously someone who can’t dress himself. He looks like a clown in that photo.”


    Daniel Heard on February 24, 2012 11:14 AM:

    “Dittos” Really? Thank god you went through the trouble to copy and paste someonelse’s opinion.

    Ancient Industries on February 24, 2012 5:41 PM:

    I was a huge fan of his when he designed the womenswear for New Republic under the label Finis. Nobody has come near to replacing his classics-with-a-twist, and I still wear his old pieces–which are now vintage. Maybe he’ll re-visit womenswear one day.

    Richard Williams on February 25, 2012 9:57 AM:

    “Dittos”? Yeah, really. No need to reinvent the wheel. Just wanted to support Tom after you disagreed. Wound kinda tight, ain’t ya?

    Smith & Ratliff on February 25, 2012 9:14 PM:

    Mark’s shoes have been incredible the last few years, well deserved honor.

    Although getting to partner with GAP doesn’t seem to be much of a prize.

    Todd M. on February 26, 2012 4:50 PM:

    While I may find his personal dress style a tad bit eccentric, I find his shoes to be amazing. Out of all the nominated designers I would vote for McNairy.

    Martin Chuzzlewit on February 27, 2012 3:29 PM:

    I wouldn’t dream of wearing clothes from a fool who is dressed as he is.
    More evidence of the decline of men’s fashion.

    hiram gonzalez on February 28, 2012 12:09 PM:

    thanks for the link of the GQ menswear selections. will be checking out Ovadio and Sons.

    martin bezelt on February 28, 2012 7:07 PM:

    i have to agree with the posters who think this fellow can’t dress to save his life- looking a bit like some eurotrash, and those god awful shoes he is wearing (without socks especially) have got to go. he may have some designed good shoes based on what buyers are into in the past few seasons (i am more into the boring cleverley and also corthay), but this picture is not a good advertisement at all.

    Brad on February 29, 2012 2:11 PM:

    Just goes to show what a good PR firm can get you.

    Jeez Bajeez on February 29, 2012 6:01 PM:

    Blog readers may not have realized yet that those behind men’s “fashion” (as opposed to style) do indeed look very much the fool or clown in real life, for if they did not dress somewhat (or very much) outrageously, they would never be given even a first glance (much less a second glance). This guy pictured is no exception- but should we not be thankful he is not wearing some kind of goofy hat- given that the fedora has come and gone, or a bowtie?

    Ronnie Lane on March 2, 2012 11:11 AM:

    In what sense is this character a ‘designer’? He takes design classics, like the red soled chukka boots he is wearing, and gets them made up in a camoflauge pattern… like, wow! This is all he’s ever done – plundered the back catalogues of companies like Bass and WalkOver and then crapped all over their heritage. An utter conman, this charlatan is laughing at gulls like Mr.Williams who want to appear to ‘get it’. And his time at J.Press, so insiders tell me, was little short of disastrous. He is classic symbol of the fake shallowness of the contemporary menswear business.

    BC on March 2, 2012 4:09 PM:

    All the negative comments on this make for fascinating reading, especially given the sheer amount of Thumbs Ups in the utterly predictable media and trendy scene for this mcnairy fellow. Either it is mostly sour grapes or these people may have a point. Ronnie Lane’s got it down pat, I think.

    NEGATIVE VIBES on March 5, 2012 1:53 AM:

    sick. chain smoking. fuck ivy. respect.

    Richard Williams on March 5, 2012 4:01 PM:

    As someone much wiser than I once said, “Its hard to sell a dream when you’re driving a nightmare.” The same principle applies here.

Comments are closed.