Arthur Arbesser is currently in his prime. Listed last year as Vogue's 'one to watch' the designer is also one of Suzy Menkes' favourite new talents. Not bad for a small-town boy from Vienna. As the penultimate Milanese man of the series, he's wearing clothes from the new M.Nii collection for the GQ for GAP collaboration.
Arthur Arbesser, Fashion Designer
Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
I grew up in Vienna, Austria and now I'm living in Milan!
What's your star sign?
Describe yourself in 5 words?
Outgoing, humorous, focused, passionate, loyal.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
First an opera singer but then very soon after a fashion designer.
The title 'fashion designer' is often quite misleading though. How would you describe your actual job?
Paying bills and constantly cleaning up the studio!
What’s the most challenging thing about your job?
The bureaucratic paper work, the production and the shipments of the goods. These things stress me the most, but it's part of the game, so all is good!
What do you like most about your job?
To be my own boss and to be aware that I'm following my dream!
How did you get into fashion?
There was simply no other option for me. I actually began by with a fascination for costumes at the opera but soon it was clothes in general. Truly, it was the only thing I wanted to do.
How does Vienna compare culturally to Italy?
Italy and especially Milan is a perfect place for a fashion business. There are lots of production sites, fabric mills nearby and a few times a year the world press in town, so no way to compare it with Vienna. Vienna instead is all about classical music and arts. For my plan right now, Milan is my place.
Is there a fashion memory that's changed your life?
So far it was winning Vogue Italia's "Who is on Next" competition in July 2013 with my second collection. Suzy Menkes' review was amazing for the New York Times after the presentation of my last collection this February.
Other than Florence and Milan during the show season, I actually don't know Italy that well. Tell me some of your thoughts on your new home.
I felt at home immediately in Milan and engaged with all things Italian form the start which I think is important to feel welcome. I moved after graduation in 2005 so it's 9 years now. Personally the best quality are my friends here, but apart from that its Italy's magic touch to make things happen. Of course the delicious food too!
Best place for coffee?
Best food in the city?
Endless list of restaurants...but meat and beans at la Terza Carbonaia is always a delicious treat.
See the full interview below.
If money were no object, who would you buy clothes from?
I would get shoes, shirts, suits and coats all tailor made and mix it with some Marni.
And in reality, where do you shop?
Right now I'm only focused on my business so I try not to spend any money! But there are great sample sales in Milan and other than that its GAP and Uniqlo for me.
London is currently having a renaissance around mens style and there's a particular excitement about new young designers like Baartmans and Siegel and Agi and Sam. Are you aware of these designers? What is the young designer scene like in Italy?
Agi and Sam are amazing! Yes I'm very aware of whats happening in London, since I studied there I always look out for London. Italy has always the advantage of the amazing manufacturing so lots of young Italian designers actually have a very nice product from a manufacturing quality point of view. Although it needs some of the London energy. There is a new group of young designers coming in Milan and I feel it's a very good moment for Milan so there are new opportunities, changes and positive vibes in the air.
This collaboration between GQ and GAP is about finding new menswear talent in America. What does great American design mean to you?
I think of something timeless and never out of date, like a white t-shirt or a pair of good jeans.
Finally, leave us with some words of wisdom...
Never take anything for granted.