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GQ Eyeing Retail Ventures

Chris Mitchell, the title’s vice president and publisher, hinted that perhaps an e-commerce or brick-and-mortar grab could be in the imminent future.

GQ Northern Grade

The logo for GQ’s venture with Northern Grade.

Photo By Courtesy Photo

GQ, RETAILER?: GQ is stretching its well-tailored reach beyond its pages. According to Chris Mitchell, the title’s vice president and publisher, the glossy is in the process of building partnerships with different retailers in order to “learn” how to create “viable revenue streams” outside of the magazine.

Its upcoming venture with men’s wear pop-up market Northern Grade is an example. GQ and Northern Grade will open a pop-up marketplace in the powerHouse Arena in Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood on March 22 and 23.

“We have broader ambitions than pop-up shops,” Mitchell told WWD. “This is all about giving us permissions to do something bigger, for a retail initiative.”

The Northern Grade venture is one of a handful of retail plays for GQ. Indeed, over the last two years, the magazine has entered into e-commerce partnerships with Park & Bond, Nordstrom and its current partner, Mr Porter. It also launched a barbershop in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center last month.

Although Mitchell didn’t provide more details on what’s in the cards, he hinted that perhaps an e-commerce or brick-and-mortar grab could be in the imminent future.

But back to Northern Grade. That venture will give GQ the opportunity to pull in some of its advertisers to partner on lounges and cocktail stations for the event. It also gives the designers featured by Northern Grade greater exposure. Brands include Billy Reid, Fellow Barber, Giles & Brother, Rancourt & Co., Haspel, Taylor Stitch, Appalatch and Noble Denim, according to Northern Grade cofounder and creative director Kat McMillan, who noted that they are all American-made.

“Our focus was keeping it [the marketplace] with people manufacturing here,” McMillan said, explaining that although Northern Grade has hosted similar events in other cities, this one holds a particular significance. “We feel this partnership represents how both GQ and Northern Grade understand how media and retail relationships are changing,” she said, before adding that the venue is also conveniently located around the corner from her apartment.

And there’s that, too.