2016 fashion started off with a bang as Jaden Smith was announced the new face of Louis Vuitton womenswear.
Nicolas Ghesquière, the artistic director of Louis Vuitton, revealed the campaign involving the 17-year-old celebrity, and son of Jada Pinkett and Will Smith, in an Instagram post on Jan. 2.
Wearing a pleated skirt, embroidered fringed top and black leather jacket, Smith represents a new age in fashion. He highlights a skirt as simply an article of clothing that doesn’t define him or his gender.
As one of GQ’s 20 Most Stylish Men Alive, Smith is known for his androgynous fashion choices. He’s often photographed wearing dresses for shirts, and his unique personal style and age is what makes him so fitting for this liberal campaign.
The concept of gender-neutral fashion isn’t an entirely new phenomenon, as Rick Owens, Rad Hourani and other radical and progressive designers have already embraced gender fluidity throughout their labels. These brands have strived to create fashion free from gender classification, a concept that’s relatively new to Louis Vuitton.
With this new ad, Vuitton blurs the lines between male and female fashion, stepping away from years of traditional and ‘safe’ ad campaigns. This cutting-edge collaboration with Jaden Smith has successfully separated Louis Vuitton from other luxury brands, generating immense exposure and making them one of the most talked about brands at the moment.
If their intentions are to make the brand more current among their consumers, they’ve certainly succeeded. Smith is laughing in the face of stereotypes, and while in the past people would likely find a campaign like this surprising, in this day and age, maybe not so much.
2015 was a breakthrough year for the trans rights movement, and gender-free clothing is a rising theme in fashion. While this particular ad campaign isn’t trans-related, it does provoke a discussion regarding gender and dress, a conversation that appears to seamlessly follow those raised in 2015.
Now, fashion is driving that conversation as this campaign has led Louis Vuitton to appear edgy and progressive in the eyes of its forward-thinking consumers.
Fashion is always changing, and we change with it. Ultimately, clothes are clothes, and no article of clothing is exclusively assigned to one gender.
Moving on from the traditional boundaries surrounding menswear and womenswear, we’re slowly but surely entering an age where it’ll be socially acceptable to wear whatever you like. This campaign demonstrates gender fluidity in fashion, something I think we can expect to see much more of in the years to come.
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