Magnus Carlsen, the face of G-Star RAW’s menswear collection since Winter 2010, is a huge celebrity in his own field, but perhaps less well known away from the exclusive world of chess.
Born Sven Magnus Øen Carlsen in Norway in 1990, Carlsen was a child chess prodigy who became a Grandmaster at the age of 13, and at 19 was the youngest ever to be ranked number one in the world. His uncompromising approach to the game attracted the attention of G-Star, who believe that his playing “mirrors G-Star’s own hardcore design philosophy”.
When Carlsen’s world ranking slipped to #2 in January 2010, some critics questioned whether his activities away from the chess board – including his contract with G-Star – were affecting his game. Carlsen did not believe there was any link, and effectively proved this by winning his next tournament, pushing his ranking back up to #1.
In September 2010, G-Star staged the G-Star RAW World Chess Challenge, giving Magnus the opportunity to prove his credentials. Essentially Magnus Carlsen vs the world, the game involved three grandmasters suggesting a move each, and 70,000 online players voting on which one to use. By definition an extremely difficult game, Carlsen nevertheless emerged victorious after 2.5 hours.
Magnus is a somewhat controversial figure in the chess world. Although none can doubt his skill at the chess board, many have criticised his decision to model for G-Star as frivolous, and likely to detract from his achievements. However, this charismatic young man, described by some as the ‘Mozart of Chess’, has certainly shone a spotlight on the game.
You can see more images of Magnus by Anton Corbijn here.