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Why Bonobos Founder Andy Dunn Loves Kanye West

Dunn talks about the rapper’s “10-minute soliloquys about capitalism,” as well as what’s next for him and the Bonobos brand.

Why Bonobos Founder Andy Dunn Loves Kanye West
Andy Dunn Then: Cofounder and CEO, Bonobos Now: Executive Chairman, Bonobos [Photo: James Ryang]

Andy Dunn—known to readers of our 2014 Most Creative People in Business issue as the “master of men’s pants”—announced in May that he was giving up his role as CEO of Bonobos, the digital-first fashion brand he cofounded. Instead, he’d be stepping into a new position as the company’s executive chairman. “My job now is to have a little bit of distance from the day-to-day and be able to be our number-one ambassador,” says Dunn. (Former Coach executive Francine Della Badia has been tapped to replace him as CEO.)

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That’s not the only change at Bonobos, which sold its millionth pair of chinos earlier this year. In the past two years, the company has expanded to include the women’s brand Ayr and a line of golf clothes called Maide. Bonobos is also investing heavily in brick-and-mortar “Guideshops,” where customers can pick out clothes with the help of Bonobos reps (and a cold beer). The company has doubled the number of Guideshops in the past year to 16 and plans to have 30 outposts by the end of 2016.

Dunn hopes to launch even more companies under the Bonobos umbrella. But he’ll still spend plenty of time contemplating khakis. “You have to be incredibly creative about what the future might hold, but really focused on what you should be doing for next season or next year,” he says. “That took me a long time to figure out.”

Who would be on his MCP list

“Kanye West. I went by myself to his show at Madison Square Garden, and he does these 10-minute soliloquys about capitalism. It’s wild. You may not like it, but how do you argue with the combination of individual performance and producing others?”

What inspires him

“Travel. Fashion is fundamentally about the way that people self-express through their clothing. And how they do that around the world is really interesting.”

Quirky side project

“Working on my dad’s book [which Dunn is editing]. He discovered a thousand letters written on the European front during World War II between his parents. It’s an amazing love story. I have a dream for it to be a film as well.”

How he stays productive

“Humans need to sleep eight hours a night, but for some reason, it’s a badge of honor to sleep six. I average eight hours, without fail.”

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“I treat meat like a delicacy. Two times a week I eat it, and 19 meals I don’t. What I’ve seen is my productivity has upticked.”