Today marks the launch of J.Crew’s Fall 2019 suiting collection, engineered in the world’s best mills and modeled with all kinds of charm by comedian Adam Scott. But before you dig in and add to cart, we have someone you have to meet. And he’ll make you want to wear two-button rigs like never before. Once you’re done here, well, let’s just say the J.Crew cart will runneth over.
Picture a ridiculously good-looking guy, Maine-bred, cheekbones to the sky, standing in a Brooklyn loft surrounded by oil paintings and records, wearing nothing but an apron and some baggy old jeans. This is Johnny Depp and Jake Gyllenhaal in every rom-com they’ve ever starred in. It’s also Liam Little; real name, real person, actual life. Little moved to New York to try something his mom urged him to do for years and years: not meet a nice person and settle down, but become a professional model. Looking for an excuse to live somewhere slightly more wild and exciting, Little gave in and gave it a shot.
At first, in the grand tradition of teenage artists who move to New York, Liam Little was flat broke and loving it. When he wasn’t modeling he was taking classes at the Arts Students League and painting obsessively. “Since Maine was my only other option, I wasn’t willing to give up on New York,'' he explains. “I just kept looking for ways to make my ideas into something more solid, more me. My stepdad is an oil painter and is the one who taught me that if you discipline yourself you can really make progress, that it will take you somewhere no matter what. As I studied and practiced art I realized how many different ways of using paint were possible and it gave me a new sense of freedom.” While Little’s painting technique and body of work developed so too did his modelling career. Eventually there were campaigns and runways, trips to Europe and tens of thousands of Instagram followers. Now, just over the legal drinking age, Little can afford the loft, the oil paints and canvases, and the Depp-level disheveled wardrobe to complete the picture too.
Little’s method of getting dressed is a little bit like his approach to his career: if it doesn’t feel natural to him, if it isn’t expressive in some way, he isn’t interested. “If something’s not fun, I’ll avoid it as much as possible, for as long as I can,'' he says. “When I was a kid, whenever I was supposed to be doing my homework, I would just be drawing all over the page”. In wardrobe form that means less basics, more one-of-a-kind finds from thrift stores. Instead of having the perfect outfit for every occasion, he has a cast of original pieces he mixes and matches to fit his mood. “I wear a lot of vintage clothes—a favorite is a bowling shirt I found with my mother’s maiden name stitched into the back. I like to mix vibes from different eras. I like suede. Layering up in the fall and winter is always a fun challenge.”
When GQ had the opportunity to take J.Crew’s new fall suits for a spin, each one completely distinct and completely essential, we knew Liam would wear them with the personality and creativity they deserve. J.Crew sweated the details on these suits—the Italian and Japanese fabrics, the perfectly slim yet classic fits, the spot-on colors and patterns—so that you can get dressed however feels right and it’ll always look good. And style in 2019 is about having just this freedom. You don’t have to be a Brooklyn-based creative to get away with sneakers or boots with tailoring at the office anymore, and no one will fault you for swapping a shirt and tie out for a cozy sweater in these hoodie-heavy times. All you need is conviction and creativity. Forget about the loft and the cheekbones, that’s what’s most inspiring about Liam Little and the famous men who play him in rom-coms.
Originally Appeared on GQ