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GQ Introduces New Global Creativity Awards Franchise

Designers Yohji Yamamoto and Grace Wales Bonner are among the first class of honorees.
Tim Cook is one of the winners of GQ's inaugural Global Creativity Awards
Tim Cook is one of the winners of GQ's inaugural Global Creativity Awards (Mark Mahaney/GQ)

GQ is rolling out a new franchise aimed at celebrating creativity. Called the Global Creativity Awards, it aims to honour those whose ideas and influence extends across multiple spheres and industries, such as music, fashion, film, business, art and sports.

“We think all of the energy and culture is coming from people who aren’t working according to silos, and they’re not staying within their boxes,” said Will Welch, global editorial director of GQ, “So much cultural energy gets unleashed when you’re able to move across different mediums, when you’re collaborating with people from all different worlds.”

The magazine’s April 2023 features some honourees as cover stars, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto and actor and musician Donald Glover. Others being honoured include designer Grace Wales Bonner, architect Gaetano Pesce, musician Karol G, filmmaker Bill Strobeck and skateboarder Tyshawn Jones. The honourees will be feted at an event in New York on April 6.

For publishers, these franchises are major revenue-driving events, and as traditional sources of revenue decline, particularly print advertising, it only makes sense to create more of them. In addition to the publicity the awards will receive online, GQ is also able to make money by selling corporate partnerships; the Creativity Awards’ inaugural partners include Delta, David Yurman, Calvin Klein, Bombay Sapphire and State Farm (one honour, the “Good Neighbor Award,” is named for the insurer’s slogan).

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Welch said the aim is that the Global Creativity Awards will become a tentpole for the publication, like GQ’s other major franchise, Men of the Year. Unlike Men of the Year, where each edition has its own issue and celebration, the Global Creativity Awards is an effort spanning GQ’s international editions — in keeping with parent company Condé Nast’s new global editorial strategy. (Welch, for example, oversees all the global editions of GQ, not just the American one.)

“Men of the Year is a global franchise that’s executed locally,” he said. The Global Creativity Awards is uniform throughout, and has one major in-person event tied to it. “So if you look across our calendar, we have two very different ways to bring to life a big global moment like this.”

The list was created collaboratively with the top GQ editors worldwide, and was intended to set a “blueprint” for future classes of winners. The idea was to look beyond traditional winners of these magazine award franchises, and expand into other realms. The celebrities chosen for awards were also selected with a global audience in mind.

“It’s tempting to fall into the trap of just going for the biggest celebrities,” said Welch. “But if you do fall into that, what you end up with is the same old thing repackaged under a new name.”




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Diana Pearl
Diana Pearl

Diana Pearl is News and Features Editor at The Business of Fashion. She is based in New York and drives BoF’s marketing and media coverage.

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