When John Bartlett started designing clothing in 1992, so many men were still wrapped up in the threadbare clutches of grunge, and metrosexuality had yet to come barreling out of the closet. Bartlett's visionary sketches of sharp, stylish, not-too-formal men quickly earned him accolades, most notably the Council of Fashion Designers of America's best menswear newcomer award in 1993 and 1997's Menswear Designer of the Year. In doing so, he proved that dressing men with an undercurrent of queer iconography -- later employed by Hedi Slimane and Tom Ford, among others -- could be a critical and financial success.
Even so, Bartlett quit the business in 2002 -- taking a sojourn to Cambodia and Thailand to study Ashtanga yoga and Buddhism -- and returning to fashion quietly in 2003 with a small collection of tailored clothing and accessories. In 2007 Bartlett opened his first store, and in 2008 he became Creative Director for the Liz Claiborne brand's men's division. His first collection under the John Bartlett for Claiborne label hits stores spring 2009.
Out.com spoke with Bartlett about his love of masculine icons, New York's West Village and what he's learned from manning the store himself. You can read the full interview here.