Since starting his media career at Conde Nast in Sydney, Australia almost two decades ago, Grant Pearce has been an important voice in the fashion world in his home country and across Asia. Serving as the Editorial Director for GQ Asia Pacific since 2008, Pearce is responsible for guiding the editorial and fashion direction of the brand’s China and Japan editions, and has also advised on the launches of GQ Thailand, GQ Style Korea and Conde Nast Traveller China. Here, Pearce tells us about the beginning of his career, menswear trends to look out for this winter, and a fad that he wishes to never see again.
Can you tell us about how you became interested in fashion, and how you started your career in media?
My career started in Sydney when I took a job as a storeman and packer at a textile company, where I met many fashion designers and boutique owners and was quickly attracted to fashion. One thing led to another, and I was offered a Fashion Assistant role with Mode magazine and soon became the Fashion Editor. In 1998, I was offered to join Conde Nast in a marketing role for Vogue Australia. Soon after I launched GQ Australia, and almost 10 years ago, I was asked to be part of the launch of GQ China and to take the role of Editorial Director for GQ Asia Pacific, and the rest is history.
What are your responsibilities as the editorial director of GQ Asia Pacific?
I have different responsibilities in different markets, but the main influence is on the overall visual image and fashion direction, including photo shoots that take me all over the world – this is definitely one of my favorite parts of the job. With the ever-changing media landscape, I work closely with the publishers on business solutions and client relationships. This is super important as all the digital and social platforms need to be a part of the brand for it to be successful. However, print will always have a place in the fashion market and it is the cornerstone for our brands.
GQ China cover shoot with actors Takeshi Kaneshiro and Tony Leung (styled by Grant Pearce)
Who are some of your favorite young Chinese designers/labels?
I am so excited to see so many emerging Chinese designers who are carving out a unique place in the fashion world. A few that have made an impact on me are Xander Zhou, Pronounce and Uma Wang. My favorite store, Dong Liang, has supported the rise of emerging Chinese designers and has an excellent selection; I always find something that catches my eye there.
What are some of the most memorable photo shoots that you’ve been involved in recently?
The most recent ones that I love include the fashion story I shot with celebrity F1 driver Lewis Hamilton on The Great Wall for GQ China, and the one I shot with Akira (from Japanese super group Exile) in New York’s Polo Bar for GQ Japan. These guys were true gentlemen and really loved the clothes, styling and experience, which made it a pleasure to produce.
GQ Japan cover shoot with Akira
What are some of your favorite fashion items at the moment?
The perfect cashmere track pants, a biker style leather jacket, and skinny denim jeans. The older I get, the more important true classic pieces become.
What are some important menswear trends to watch for this winter?
Coats are key this season and there are many different styles on offer, from the newest oversized silhouette to a classic trench with a twist. Checks are a must-have, and the most dynamic trend is termed ‘athleisure,’ which combines the practical applications of sportswear with luxury fabrics and modern styling.
Which menswear trend or fad do you wish to never see again?
I am a little tired of seeing skirts on the menswear runways, as I do not believe it will ever become a mainstream trend. Obviously, there have been excellent examples where it has had a true place and meaning, like the amazing collections created by Comme des Garcons and Rick Owens.
You travel a lot for work… what are a few of your travel essentials?
On every trip, I travel with Rimowa luggage, a Louis Vuitton keepall, a vintage Rolex watch… and good eye drops. Bloodshot eyes on arrival is not a good look!