Jaden Smith for Louis Vuitton women: Breaking the mould?

Although announced a while ago, it’s never too late to talk about Louis Vuitton’s new face of women’s wear, Jaden Smith.

Anyone who spends an inappropriate amount of time on the internet will already be familiar with the seventeen year old’s antics, from quirky tweets, to pushing the ‘boundaries of fashion norms’ by strutting around in dresses and skirts. With one caption on his Instagram stating ‘Went To TopShop To Buy Some Girl Clothes, I Mean ‘Clothes’ ‘, it is difficult not to be impressed by Jaden’s attitude towards his own personal styling. It’s this kind of attitude the fashion world lives for and the rest of the world should take notice of. So really, Louis Vuitton’s choice shouldn’t have come as a surprise. And neither should the fact that it’s ‘women’s wear’ and not ‘men’s wear’ that has undergone a revamp.

‘Went To TopShop To Buy Some Girl Clothes, I Mean ‘Clothes’

A short campaign video showcases not just the signature Louis Vuitton bags, most notably a baby pink chain print purse, but also strong leather clad outfits and a mean attitude that no amount of fringe or frills can detract from. Jaden’s main outfit features a white and black woven fringe top, with a printed skirt and leather jacket. The outfit may not be avant-garde; it’s easily adaptable into your wardrobe at home to bring the inspiration of high end fashion into affordable clothing. But sometimes the simplest of outfits brings the strongest of statements. And it seems that Louis Vuitton is making a particularly strong statement about fearlessness. It takes a lot of guts for anyone to go against gender stereotypes and those expectations that the fashion world simultaneously upholds and dismantles.

For me the campaign isn’t as much a discussion of gender but a conversation about the absence of it

I’ve read a flood of mixed reviews in the month following the launch of the campaign, ranging from positive praise, to articles questioning whether Jaden infringes on a position that should be held by transgender and non-binary people. The debate of gender expression in fashion isn’t new. Clothes have become a main identifier of a person’s gender and society seems to struggle to break away from that.

For me the campaign isn’t as much a discussion of gender but a conversation about the absence of it. The role reversal of ‘women’s wear’ breaks down the rigid and old fashioned views that some clothes are only meant for some gender – that only women are allowed to wear dresses; that dresses don’t belong in a man’s wardrobe. Louis Vuitton and Jaden Smith not only illustrate that this is a ridiculous notion, but also that men can wear skirts and dresses and look fantastic doing so. We live in an age where the desire for freedom of expression in all areas of life is high. We want to live comfortably in our own skins and this, in part, involves seeing what people wear not as an indication of their sex or their gender, but as an indication of their individuality. I cannot speak for Louis Vitton or what they were trying, if anything, to convey with this decision, but personally I see this as a step into the future of genderless clothing and genderless expression.

Ellis Harris

Image Credits: Louis Vuitton via youtube, 

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