Michael Bastian is a menswear polymath, designing six separate fashion collections per year for GANT, his namesake label, and Michael Bastian for Barney’s New York. The designer talks to Adrian Brinkley about the Internet’s influence on men’s fashion and the style differences between Americans and Swedes:
Do you think that men’s fashion is becoming more accessible?
Hell, yeah. There is a huge shift now. I would say guys in their twenties, even late teens, are more aware than they’ve ever been because of the Internet and all the blogs. Everyone’s game has to step up a little bit because these guys are serious.
You’ve managed to acquire a pretty sizeable following online yourself…
The Internet is really pushing us all along. If I’m saying something that [bloggers] are responding to, then I’m really proud because these guys move so fast, and before you know it they’re on to the next thing.
Gant’s headquarters are in Stockholm; you no doubt do a lot of traveling. Have you noticed a difference in the way Swedish and American men dress?
Well, Swedish men are a little more comfortable with mixing in tailored clothing. It’s nothing for them to wear a blazer with jeans or with chinos or corduroys. They wear it like outerwear. The other thing is the way they wear it. Sweden is a social democracy, and they’re not flashy at all. Even if they have a ton of money, they don’t show it.
What are your style tips for fall?
I don’t know about you, but it’s a hassle to me to have on a shirt, a jacket, and an outerwear piece—there are too many layers. And if you’re hopping in and out of cabs all day, it all starts to bunch up on you. I think you can get away with a good tweed blazer and treat it like outerwear. Then, in a weird way, your accessories become more important and you get to show a lot more personality by playing around with those.
Read the rest in our Oct/Nov 2012 issue. Photographed by Eric T. White.