Gay Menswear Fashion Designers
Fashion design has always had a large contingency of gay men who are prominent in the profession. This is perhaps not surprising given the extent to which the industry relies on leading-edge and extravagant design, a particular skill of many in the LGBTQ community.
Often notable for designing haute couture and ready-to-wear for women, there is a smaller group of gay men who also design menswear. Most of them are highly visible and operate global brands either under their own labels, or associated with household-name design firms.
Successful menswear style comes down to three important components: cut, fit and material (including colour, design and texture). There can be various degrees of success with each of these components, but the top designers manage to excel with all three in combination. Like design success in any field (including architecture, housewares, and others), financial success often relies on a standardized signature design manufactured with mass production and accompanied by global distribution. The first fashion designer ever to create and incorporate this into their business model was French women's wear designer Christian Dior, but menswear designers have followed his recipe. Success in menswear for many fashion designers has also lead to spin-offs in other fashion areas, including perfumes, jewelry, linens, housewares and more (a business strategy pioneered by fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent).
What is markedly different from women's wear is that menswear has no haute-couture category. Success depends much more on designing clothing for the everyday individual, forcing menswear designers to compete with each other on their unique style of clothing.
An interesting idea for exploration is the extent to which a gay men's fashion designer would insert an LGBTQ aesthetic into his designs. There is a unique and often personal identity to gay culture that could be infused into design, including slogans, colours, slang terms, flamboyance, and other elements. As well, the design could reflect issues prevalent to the LGBTQ community, such as AIDS, clubbing, fetishes, drugs, equality, conflict, and so on. Materials used in the design can also reflect queer culture, including leather, feathers and so on.
Gay menswear fashion designers hail from all parts of the world. We have identified individuals from Canada, Australia, Great Britain, the United States, The Netherlands, France, Italy, Mexico, Belgium and Ireland. To read their fascinating biographies, simply click on their names.
- J. W. Anderson – J. W. Anderson
- Christopher Bailey - Burberry
- John Galliano - Galliano
- Richard James – Browns
- Alexander McQueen – Alexander McQueen, Givenchy
- Tommy Nutter - Nutter's of Saville Row
- Antony Price – Antony Price
- Darren Kennedy – Darren Kennedy
- Valentino Garavani - Valentino
- Riccardo Tisci - Givenchy
- Gianni Versace – Versace
- Italo Zucchelli – Calvin Klein
- Diego Zuniga – Diego Zuniga
- Frank Muytjens – J. Crew
- Lucas Ossendrijver – Lanvin Homme
- Walter Van Beirendonck – Walter Van Beirendonck
- Michael Bastian – Gant
- Thom Browne – Thom Browne
- Willy Chavarria – Palmer’s Trading
- Perry Ellis – Perry Ellis
- Tom Ford – Tom Ford
- Marc Jacobs – Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton, Perry Ellis
- Michael Kors – Michael Kors
- Isaac Mizrahi – Isaac Mizrahi
- Matt Nye – Matt Nye, Carolina Herrera, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein
- Shayne Oliver – Hood By Air
- Greg'ry Revenj – Revenj
- Alexander Wang – Balenciaga, Alexander Wang
- Julian Woodhouse - Wood House