Jaden Smith has always been an unconventional character. The son of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith has often walked to the beat of his own drum with his personal and professional choices. And now the social media star and actor is ready to take on the standards and beliefs of one of the most powerful industries out there: the fashion world. See how Smith is taking on gender roles, fashion roles, and the gender binary—all in the name of equality, individuality and, of course, high style.
Bashing The Binary
A photo posted by Jaden Smith (@christiaingrey) on Jan 28, 2016 at 8:31am PST
The son of Hollywood celebrities, Smith has never been too bothered by conventional ideals and attitudes. Since he turned 16, Smith has been consistently flying in the face of social norms—especially those pertaining to fashion. He's worn skirts and 'feminine' accessories in public, always without making a big scene. In a recent interview with British GQ Magazine, the social media celebrity summed up his view on all the hubbub: "I feel like people are kind of confused about gender norms. I feel like people don’t really get it. I’m not saying that I get it, I’m just saying that I’ve never seen any distinction. I don’t see man clothes and woman clothes, I just see scared people and comfortable people."
The New Face of Womenswear
"Hero Of A New Generation:" @officialjaden stars in Louis Vuitton's 'The Heroine' https://t.co/xYSAtNtEXW pic.twitter.com/k2QpkkBXEv — VibeMagazine (@VibeMagazine) January 8, 2016
While some critics dismissed Smith's attitude towards clothing and gender as nothing more than standard teenage rebellion, it was harder to overlook his professional choices. When it was announced that Smith would be the face of the Louis Vuitton Spring Womenswear Collection in 2016. People were decidedly nonplussed by this bold move from one of the most famous designers in the industry. But the decision has already paid off in spades; besides being a great marketing choice, Smith's involvement in the project is raising some very timely questions about gender, identity, and where fashion fits into it all.
A Different Attitude
They Call Me Don Julio The Seventh. pic.twitter.com/V9oO5UuXCU
— Jaden Smith (@officialjaden) March 15, 2016
Jaden Smith's move to break down the gender binary through fashion is by no means a new idea (comedian and actor Eddie Izzard has explained for years, 'They're not women's clothes. They're my clothes. I bought them.'), but it may be one whose time has finally come. The young celebrity has become a powerful and highly visible advocate for change, and this is the first step in his plan to save the world. And as far as he's concerned, this is only the beginning.
"Just Come Here" A photo posted by Jaden Smith (@christiaingrey) on Jan 25, 2016 at 3:20pm PST
So what's next for the rapper/actor/model/artist? It's hard to say. Jaden Smith's career has not followed a conventional path, and it's doubtful that's going to change any time soon. Right now he seems deeply invested in the world of fashion, and encouraging people to be comfortable with who they are and what they want to wear. Tomorrow—who can tell? But for the moment, this powerful and provocative move is raising important questions and starting a complicated dialogue about identity, gender, and why we subscribe to the gender binary. Not bad for someone who's still a few months shy of turning 18. We can't wait to see what he'll do next.