This year customers will see many changes to the fashion industry. “If 2015 was the year unisex became a trend in fashion, 2016 may be the year the question of gender and dress enters an entirely different dimension,” says The New York Times.
Nicolas Ghesquière, artistic director for Louis Vuitton, welcomes the social change of this generation and designs upon it.
Ghesquière began the new year by posting photos on Instagram to promote Vuitton’s women’s ad campaign. Among the models of the photos were Jean Campbell, Rianne Van Rompaey, Sarah Brannon, and Jaden Smith, son of the famous Will and Jada Smith.
“The presence of Mr. Smith, in itself, is not a big thing,” adds Vanessa Friedman of the NY Times. Other top name brands like Burberry use young men in their women’s wear ads. The difference with this ad is that Smith is wearing women’s clothing.
Jaden Smith has become the new face of Louis Vuitton’s spring/summer 2016 collection. Ghesquière included other photos from the shoot on Instagram, one that was of just Smith, who was wearing a black skirt, a fringed shirt, and a black leather jacket.
Ghesquière captioned the photo by saying, “Happy to introduce Jaden Smith in the new SS16 @louisvuitton ad Campaign photographed by Bruce Weber.”
Ghesquière commented on Jaden being in the photo shoot by saying, “He represents a generation that has assimilated the codes of true freedom, one that is free of manifestos and questions about gender.”
Recently, Jaden was seen wearing a white skirt and black tuxedo to his prom and a flowered T-shirt dress to Coachella, while also posting about shopping for “girl clothes” on TopShop.
His sister, Willow Smith, has said that he has a tendency to wear clothes that are usually solely for women, thus showing that he has been pushing towards unisex clothing for a while.
“He is simply laughing in the face of stereotypes, which are actual barriers to acceptance of self and other people in a way that gender is not,” comments Fred McConnell of The Guardian. In this way, Jaden understands that his clothes are more about self-expression than they are relating to gender.
Jaden explained his outfits to GQ magazine by saying, “I am just expressing how I feel inside, which is really no particular way because everyday it changes how I feel about the world and myself.”
Louis Vuitton is not the only big-name brand that has gone unisex. Other fashion designers such as Gucci have been selling “gender-neutral” or “gender-free” clothing, which can be worn by both men and women.
Even Target has revolutionized by removing the use of gendered language in its children’s toys and bedding departments.
“Fashion can advocate for social change. But just as often, fashion will exploit social movements, aestheticizing them as a way to seem edgy and turn a profit,” says Mary Rizzo, reporter from CNN.
This statement leaves the burning question, is fashion a sense of self-expression or are there other motives behind it?