Change is in the offing. ABG head Jamie Salter told WWD he plans to shutter as many as half of the retailer’s stores, and to adjust the company’s offerings. “There will be a lot more leisurewear and activewear,” he said. “We won’t forget the tailored piece but there won’t be a huge emphasis in that area.”
Salter plans to hire a “big-name designer” with a “strong sportswear background” to oversee that shift. WWD mentions Gramercy hero Todd Snyder and #menswear icon Michael Bastian as possible candidates, with Bape legend Nigo as a longshot, any of whom would make for a compelling choice. But why stop there? GQ’s style team put on their most beloved vintage Brooks Brothers oxford shirts and took a stab at forecasting the brand’s next designer.
Jerry Lorenzo is the choice here. Who better to lead the brand to athleisure gold than the man who built the foundation of his brand on hoodies and sweatpants? But that’s actually not the reason I’d be most excited for a Lorenzo and Brooks Brothers pairing—not by a longshot. Instead, it’s the fact that over the course of 2020, Lorenzo has proven he can design the hell out of a suit. His collaboration with Zenga was one of the most blessed unions of this year, and the new Fear of God collection unveiled today proves Lorenzo doesn’t even necessarily need anyone else to create killer tailored pieces. Lorenzo has shown he’s able to take the suits and the other tailored pieces Brooks Brothers butters its bread with and completely modernize it. Isn’t that exactly what the legendary-but-stale American brand needs right now? —Cam Wolf, staff writer
In its heyday, Brooks Bros was all about outfitting upwardly-mobile American men and women in well-made, sporty, accessible clothing. In the TikTok era, I can’t think of a brand doing that better than John Elliott. —Samuel Hine, senior associate editor
We saw a hint at what he could do for mens when he introduced it into his own fall 2020 collection, but I would love to see what he could do with even more resources. Born and raised in Texas, Maxwell clearly understands the idea of Americana, but also how to push it forward. —Nikki Ogunnaike, deputy fashion director
Thom Browne might not want the job, but we know he can do it, having designed the Brooks Brothers Black Fleece collection from 2007-2015. Black Fleece wasn’t a huge business, but it was successful and beloved by a younger customer who wanted Thom Browne’s radical proportions without the radical price tag. Interestingly, at the time of its discontinuation, both Brooks Bros and Browne left the door open for a revamped Black Fleece in the future. Hmm… —S.H.
Dressing future presidents has to look waaay different—outdoor clothes like utility vests, cargo pants, fleeces, and chore coats are the new Americana business casual. Reese Cooper is reimagining them with an extremely youthful vibe—a few months ago he released a $98 kit for his signature chore coat so that you can DIY one at home. Now THAT’s American ingenuity! —Rachel Tashjian, staff writer
Scott Sternberg (or Brendon Babenzien)
Brooks needs someone that acknowledges its history but can move it forward in the current landscape. Both Scott (of Entireworld) and Brendon (of Noah) come to mind: aesthetically, they get the youth, but they understand tailoring. They’re great with color combinations, and with patterns and fabric. Maybe most importantly, they’re thoughtful when it comes to design in a way that’s sellable. —Jon Tietz, senior fashion editor
The Unis founder convinced men everywhere to slim down their chinos, and then decamped to the West Coast to up the fashion quotient at The North Face. A slightly slimmer, slightly techier Brooks Brothers? Sign me up. —S.S.
Mark McNairy is the OG of snarly punk-preppy, putting Pusha T on his runway in bowling shoes and a hat that read BE NASTY, and Travis Scott in a varsity jacket and boat shoes. His khakis, Oxford shirts, loafers, and tailoring arrive as fully freaked classics—recall, dear reader, the edenic years when he was the creative director of J. Press. He can truly get young guys and their dads alike excited about getting dressed again. —R.T.