GQ (originally Gentlemen’s Quarterly) is a monthly men’s magazine focusing on fashion, style, and culture for men, through articles on food, movies, fitness, sex, music, travel, sports, technology, and books. It is the male equivalent of Vogue.
Gentlemen’s Quarterly was launched in 1931 in the United States as Apparel Arts, a men’s fashion magazine for the clothing trade, aimed primarily at wholesale buyers and retail sellers. Initially it had a very limited print run and was aimed solely at industry insiders to enable them to give advice to their customers. The popularity of the magazine amongst retail customers, who often took the magazine from the retailers, spurred the creation of Esquire magazine in 1933.
Apparel Arts continued until 1957 when it was transformed into a quarterly magazine for men which was published for many years by Esquire Inc. Apparel was dropped from the logo in 1958 with the spring issue after nine issues, and the name Gentlemen’s Quarterly was established.
In 1979 Condé Nast Publications bought the publication and editor Art Cooper changed the course of the magazine, introducing articles beyond fashion and establishing GQ as a general men’s magazine in competition with Esquire. Subsequently, international editions were launched as regional adaptations of the U.S. editorial formula. Jim Nelson was named editor-in-chief of GQ in February 2003; during his tenure he worked as both a writer and an editor of several National Magazine Award-nominated pieces. During Nelson’s tenure, GQ has become more oriented towards younger readers and those who prefer a more casual style.
Nonnie Moore was hired by GQ as fashion editor in 1984, having served in the same position at Mademoiselle and Harper’s Bazaar. Jim Moore, the magazine’s fashion director at the time of her death in 2009, described the choice as unusual, observing that “She was not from men’s wear, so people said she was an odd choice, but she was actually the perfect choice” and noting that she changed the publication’s more casual look, which “She helped dress up the pages, as well as dress up the men, while making the mix more exciting and varied and approachable for men.”
GQ has been closely associated with metrosexuality. The writer Mark Simpson coined the term in an article for British newspaper The Independent about his visit to a GQ exhibition in London: “The promotion of metrosexuality was left to the men’s style press, magazines such as The Face, GQ, Esquire, Arena and FHM, the new media which took off in the Eighties and is still growing…. They filled their magazines with images of narcissistic young men sporting fashionable clothes and accessories. And they persuaded other young men to study them with a mixture of envy and desire.”