Jaden Smith has recently become the face for the Louis Vuitton SS16 collection; the womenswear collection, more specifically. That’s right, the 17 year old male is advertising womens’ clothes, and if this isn’t a promising beginning to 2016, I’m not sure what else is. The announcement was made rather fittingly through Instagram, showcasing a teaser shot of Jaden wearing a tasselled white shirt and a patterned black skirt. And that was it. Louis Vuitton felt no need to release a statement explaining why a male was modelling women’s clothes, just simply released photos.
This feels almost revolutionary to me. Women wearing male targeted clothes is pretty commonplace; lumberjack shirts, boyfriend jeans and trouser suits are everyday wear. But a man in a dress? That seems to be reserved exclusively for ‘cross-dressers’ or the eccentric. Jaden Smith is changing the game as the most high profile male to model womenswear. He’s not necessarily the first, as Andrej Pejic, an Australian model, has walked for Jean Paul Gaultier wearing a wedding dress. However, in 2014 Pejic underwent sexual reassignment surgery and changed her name to Andreja; she became the first openly transgender model featured in Vogue. Jaden has not publicly identified himself as gender fluid or transgender, and could become the first cisgender male model to bring gender fluid fashion into the mainstream.
Jaden has been bringing gender fluid style into the mainstream for a few years, wearing a dress to his prom and tweeting “Went To TopShop To Buy Some Girl Clothes, I Mean ‘Clothes’”. His fans, and people up to date in fashion would know this, but many people may be unaware of Jaden’s choices other than Tweeting Like This. That is why the Louis Vuitton campaign is so important, not just for fashion fans, but for the wider public. People view advertisements and clothing collections every day, often without realising they’re interacting with it. The media has created representations of what models should look like, and who should wear what, and Jaden Smith is completely defying these. And he looks damn good doing it.
Fashion is changing for men. It has been wrongly assumed to be aimed solely at women, but celebrities are paving the way for men caring about their appearance to become more accepted. Harry Styles has similarly began wearing less traditionally masculine clothing, such as women’s jeans, bright pink silk shirts and of course that floral Gucci suit. His fashion choices have been mocked in some media outlets, but there has been a huge support for Harry wearing whatever he wants. Harry and Jaden are both introducing a shift in ideas about what is socially acceptable to wear, and gender fluid clothing is becoming increasingly popular. I’m pretty sure that soon, male models wearing womenswear won’t be newsworthy and society won’t question gender fluid styles. This is an exciting time for fashion and gender norms, and even if you aren’t particularly invested in clothing trends, this is undoubtedly one to watch.