HEROES, FOR THREE DAYS: British GQ is getting into the luxury and lifestyle conference game with the launch of GQ Heroes, a three-day event with talent from a host of industries that will take place at Soho Farmhouse in Oxfordshire, England.
On Tuesday, the title will reveal the details of the inaugural GQ Heroes, which will run from May 8 to 10 in association with the British multibrand designer retailer Flannels. GQ is promising an “intimate, entertaining and interactive event of intense learning, debate and informative discussion,” with tickets costing 2,000 pounds, including accommodation, meals and a gala dinner.
Speakers are a mostly British bunch, such as model and activist Adwoa Aboah, actor Ricky Gervais, journalist Michael Wolff, artists Marc Quinn and Tracey Emin, Orlebar Brown founder Adam Brown, Paul Smith and Versace chief executive officer Jonathan Akeroyd. Natalie Massenet, Matthew Freud and Piers Morgan are also scheduled to speak, as are designers Samuel Ross and Tom Dixon and Savage x Fenty’s creative director Philippa Price.
“We’re aware that this is a crowded market and we’ve been very, very careful, and granular, in our research because we want to produce something that completely reflects the GQ DNA but also has genuine takeaways for people who are coming,” said Dylan Jones, editor of GQ, in an interview.
“In a nutshell, it’s our take on a luxury conference, but it’s not just about luxury. We’re also deep-diving into all our other verticals and pillars. As well as luxury we’ve got entertainment, media and mental health,” he said of the conference, which will also have sports, political and creative angles.
Jones said the aim is to deliver far more than a good time and the chance to mingle with A-listers. “We are aware that there have to be genuine business takeaways because no one is going to come to this for a three-day ‘jolly.’ They need to leave having been not just entertained, but also having learnt lessons.”
Asked who he’d like to see sitting in the audience, Jones said ceo’s, coo’s and other top managers. “I think there’s going to be a lot of people from the ad industry, people from the luxury sector, from production, TV and entertainment. We think the audience mix is going to be almost as interesting as the people on stage.”
Nick Sargent, publishing director of British GQ said he expects guests to be “thoroughly entertained and inspired while networking with some of the most influential people in the U.K.”
GQ is one of the last big titles in the Condé Nast Britain stable to take on luxury events. Condé has its annual, international luxury conference while Wired hosts a series of smaller talks and gatherings throughout the year. British Vogue used to stage the annual Vogue Festival, although it has since swapped the format in favor of more frequent consumer-facing moments.
Competitors across the media industry are fighting for a slice of the events business, which can be a lucrative income stream if the teams get the timing, price and speaker list just right.
Dylan said GQ Heroes could be a money-spinner down the line. “I think the most important thing for us is to put on events that people enjoy, and think are worthwhile, ones they will come back to. It has to be repeatable, scalable and very, very good. Obviously we hope it will drive revenue but the most important think in year one is to make it good.”
The magazine has partnered with Flannels, which has 30 locations and is set to open its first London flagship on Oxford Street later this spring. The retailer, which is owned by Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct, sells brands including Gucci, Saint Laurent, Burberry and Off-White.