Last night at around 8 p.m., André Benjamin (a.k.a. André 3000) showed up at a party space in Rockefeller Center, where GQ and the C.F.D.A. co-hosted a celebration honoring the best new menswear designers in America. After Mr. Benjamin, 32, said hello to GQ’s editor-in-chief, Jim Nelson, the ever-nattily-clad OutKast musician-actor-designer spoke with the Daily Transom about, among other things, cool clothes.
“To be honest, I don’t really follow the new, ‘it’ fashion thing,” he said, responding to a question about what Mr. Nelson has called “an exciting and pivotal time for men’s fashion.” Mr. Benjamin went on, “I’ve heard people talking about it; I’m actually here to see what’s going on.”
But, of course, Mr. Benjamin arguably knows more about cutting-edge style than most. He, along with last night’s fêted fashionistas, has been working on his fall collection. Of his design process and aesthetic, he said, “The only thing I can tell you is that every part of my life—growing up as a kid—I’ve put it into the clothes. From being in the music industry, from being a prep when you’re young, old tailoring, it’s all of that meshed into one,” said Mr. Benjamin of his 40- or 50-piece collection. He then paused to look up at a tall platform, running nearly the entire length of the venue, lined with some 50 nubile male models, each donning a different budding designer’s wares.
“Because I’m not from it,” he continued, “I’m not really into fashion; I’m just about really what I think would be cool. It’s coming from a personal place. It’s small.”
Asked how designing clothing is similar, if at all, to making music, Mr. Benjamin said, “It’s the same, to be honest. It’s all about taste and the choices you make. Even acting, it’s all about the choices that you make and at the end of the day that’s what you do.”
And, it seems, he’s doing quite a lot these days. On top of designing clothes and working on his solo album, which is due out in the fall, the music man, who was sporting a fetching ensemble of bloomer-style pants tucked into tall boots under a vest and metallic-hued fedora, is already working on plans to produce another OutKast album. Oh, yeah—he also has two films coming out this year: Stuart Townsend’s Battle in Seattle, co-starring Charlize Theron and Woody Harrelson, and Kent Alterman’s Semi-Pro, co-starring Will Ferrell and, um, Woody Harrelson.
With so many projects in the works, Mr. Banjamin still has time, he said, to look for an apartment in New York. So where does the king of breezy-elegance want to put down roots?
“I like, um, I think it’s the East Village,” he offered inquiringly.