Pop Culture

Announcing the Worldwide Era of GQ

The September 2021 issue marks a new beginning for the global GQ brand.
September 2021 GQ Global Covers

You may not know that there are 21 unique editions of GQ around the world. The original was established in the U.S. in 1957. Some three decades later, the spawning commenced, first with British GQ in 1988, continuing through a period of rapid expansion in the aughts (including GQ Japan, GQ France, GQ China, and more), and leading up to the 2018 launch of our newest title, GQ Middle East.

The only thing that was strange about this ever growing network of GQ editions is that we didn’t really speak to one another. And we certainly didn’t collaborate. Which—in an increasingly globalized world—was a little like having access to an incredible superpower and choosing not to use it.

Well, that changes for good with the launch of our new September issue. Like that scene in Spider-Man in which Tobey Maguire figures out how to fire cobwebs out of his wrists, GQ has entered the phase of its hero’s journey where it is testing out its superpowers and seeing what they can do.

On set in Los Angeles at our first global cover shoot with The Weeknd. 

Photograph by Daniel Jackson

To me, the coolest aspect of GQ‘s superpower is that it only activates when we all work together.

For the September issue, my international colleagues and I chose to unite at the intersection of two universal languages: music and fashion. So 17 of our international editions simultaneously published a cover featuring the most mysterious and compelling artist in global pop, The Weeknd. And all 21 of us co-produced and co-published a portfolio called “Voices of the Future,” which spotlights 21 emerging musicians, each of whom was nominated, photographed, and profiled by one of our editions.

So what does this newly unified approach mean for you and our 64 million other monthly readers around the world? Well, it means that across our digital platforms, and with each new print issue, you will see not just your country through the GQ lens but the whole globe. Which could mean an international megastar on the cover—or a hyper-local story that originates in Paris, Milan, Taipei, Cape Town, Seoul, or Mexico City.

In an era that will continue to be defined by the glorious borderlessness of the internet, this shift represents a great leap forward for GQ. Especially because our fashion-music-and-art-obsessed audience comprises a continent-crossing network of young people who share a worldview and are all connected via social media. And anyway, the GQ reader has always been broad-minded and voracious.

We don’t want to hunker down at home—we want to get out and experience the world in all its sublime, complex fullness. We want provocative ideas from diverse perspectives, bold new fashion that eschews tired rules, and vivid reporting that challenges our assumptions and pries open our minds.

For years now, our 21 international editions have proved that the stylish and cutting-edge spirit of GQ is flourishing across borders, time zones, and languages.

I like to think of GQ as a campfire around which like-minded people from across the planet gather.

Today, we strike the match.

A version of this story originally appears in the September 2021 issue with the title “Welcome to the Worldwide Era of GQ”


Image may contain: Clothing, Apparel, Human, Person, Hat, Cowboy Hat, and Sun Hat

The Weeknd vs. Abel Tesfaye

With an instantly recognizable voice and songs that have been streamed several billion times, he’s one of the most ubiquitous pop stars in the world. But where does Abel Tesfaye end and his dark, grimy public persona begin? Mark Anthony Green finally gets the artist to explain.

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