Following the reveal of Esquire’s (questionably timed at best, utterly fucking tone-deaf at worst) February cover story about “what it’s like to grow up white, middle class, and male” in 2019, Put This On took a closer look at the two editors tasked with saving America’s largest men’s style imprints, Will Welch at GQ and Jay Fielden at Esquire, and the very different directions each is taking their respective publications.
“Welch and Fielden are trying to save the two biggest titles… but have dramatically different approaches that reflect their contrasting personalities,” writer Derek Guy says.
Welch comes from a music journalism background and has a “sense of openness and optimism [that] defines his editorial work,” the story says. He tends to not shun popular things for being young, and instead leans into a baked-in eclecticism to inform his direction, all of which comes through in his GQ.
Feldman, on the other hands, “is the opposite of that kind of figure,” a person who is unapologetic about basically everything, including an Instagram feed that “looks like a photo collage of.. the sort of high-society life that peaked sometime around the 1960s.”
And in addition to the “expensive vintage cars and rare Rolexes” that Feldman seems to enjoy posting, the story noted a “running theme of frustration with the academic and far left,” a stance the story posits, that could be why “when a senior editor proposed the idea of profiling what it’s like growing up as a white, male conservative in today’s age, Fielden turned it into this month’s cover story.”
So, “GQ, moving forward, will likely be more open-minded and engaged with culture” Guy wrote, while Esquire seems infused with the “politics that reflects Fielden’s frustrations with a changing world.”
“Whether either approach will resonate with enough men to pull up subscription numbers is anyone’s guess.”
You can read more about it at Put this On.