A Feel For Fashion: Stephen Gan

Interviews, Inspirations

Among the most respected creatives in the industry, Stephen Gan arrived in New York in the early '80s and pursued a degree in photography at Parsons New School of Design. In 1991, he founded the collectable and must-have publication, Visionaire, along with model Cecilia Dean and make-up artist James Kaliardos. The issues were highly conceptual, available only in limited edition and impossible to get. The magazine was also a playground for boundless expression through images and collaborations with brands and artists, well ahead of others. In 1999, Gan launched V, the bimonthly and more affordable spin-off, where he is still editor-in-chief despite departing from Visionaire in 2014. Gan is also the creative director of Elle US since 2018.

What excites you in fashion right now?

Anything that showcases FANTASY. People want to dream again. 

What is one reason to be optimistic about the state of fashion going forward?

That there are new visionaries being born every day. Maybe a future Richard Avedon or Christian Dior is graduating from school right now. 

In what ways do you think AI might benefit fashion?

In dreaming up fantastical creations before they are made. Think of AI as a sketchbook. 

Who or what will drive the greatest change in fashion this year?

I do not know exactly, but definitely someone is needed to come along and show us new ways of looking at things. 

What impact might you hope to have on fashion through your work?

In my field, it would be to leave magazine issues that younger generations will pick up one day, enjoy and learn from. 

Can you suggest a fashion mantra for '24?

KEEP DREAMING and never underestimate fashion's connection to music. 

This interview has been lightly edited.