Chances are if you’ve been reading the GQ Eye recently, 85% of what you’ve read has been penned by Mr. Sean Hotchkiss. While Sean’s his name and face are familiar in menswear circles, his story is still under the radar. This week I spoke with Sean over coffee about his beginnings as a Golf Menswear blogger, his internship working with Ralph Lauren (the man himself) and how GQ has changed since he began. I learned not only that Sean has an impressive story behind him, but that he’s only just getting started. – Marisa, thesigother.com
You’re at GQ now, but where did this all begin? How did you end up in Menswear?
I’m from Falmouth, Maine and I went to school in upstate New York, at Hobart Williams Smith, I was an english major. When I graduated I had no idea what I wanted to do, so when I got out, I got the first job I was offered in New York in Commercial Real Estate. And I hated it every day for two years. But I was always interested in menswear. So, while I was there, I started a golf fashion blog for men only, Khaki Crusader. Since I hated my job, I threw all my time into the blog.
So what was your first move into Menswear?
I finally quit the real estate job in July 2009 and ended up getting an internship at J. Lindeberg. Eventually, I went to see the Spring 2010 collection for Polo Ralph Lauren for RLX Golf. I met this guy, Charlie, we walk around the block and two months later he calls me and I ended up with an internship as a designer with Ralph Lauren. They weren’t paying me but I was sitting in meetings with Ralph. I basically walked off the street into a meeting with Ralph. It was amazing.
Why didn’t you end up staying at Ralph?
While I was at Ralph I wasn’t writing and I really missed it. I decided to take a year off and just write my blog and freelance. I hired a developer and got someone to handle the advertising, took on another writer. It actually ended up being the hardest year of my life. I took a lot of trips, did a lot of lifestyle shit. But to be honest, I was totally confused I didn’t know what I wanted the blog to be. I think I just got bored.
Was it pure boredom? Or did you feel like you wanted to do something different?
I think I just realized that i wanted to be in Menswear, not just Golf Menswear. Sometime in early may I heard that Lance Lin, who was men’s PR director at Ralph, was moving over to GQ. So I hit him up immediately and he said he wanted to put me in contact with Sean Fennessey, who was, and is doing all the online stuff. When I spoke to Sean he said he was looking for a full time blogger. I wrote up five initial posts for him. I did some serious research, wrote some long posts. When I sent them to Sean, he was like “well, we need to work on some things, because these are like stories not posts. But I like them and you’re hired” and since then it’s been fun.
Have you seen GQ change in the months you’ve been there? It seems like there is moer cross over now between print and online.
Oh yeah, completely. It’s changed so much since I’ve been there. Now every month, we feature every single thing that’s in the magazine online. Which means we can build off those stories too. So we add an extra Q & A or expand a feature or tell a larger story than you could before.
It sounds like there was once a stigma about online that has since gone away.
Yes, the growth since Sean and EJ, who’s the digital development guy came in the has been huge. Even though, you know, the magazine is still king. And I get that, there is a romance to print. I’m working on something for the magazine, for the first time ever which is cool. Can’t tell you much but I’m psyched about that. But you know me. I am on the online team. In life. If I had to chose, I am fighting for the online team.
Photo: Noah Emrich
Part of a series of posts by Marisa Zupan of The Significant Other for We Are The Market