What makes a man? Adhering to the stereotypical representation, you’d probably say masculinity—strong, assertive, aggressive—a dated viewpoint based upon culturally ingrained ideals. The notion that masculinity is no longer confined to a singular archetype is now being embraced by men of all forms and traditional inferences of how men should present themselves are being both questioned and challenged.
What is the Zegna campaign about?
Ermenegildo Zegna has been crafting clothes for men for 110 years and is the world's largest luxury menswear brand. With such an influential voice in the market, the new campaign is not only a vehicle to highlight its latest collection but, just as important, serves as a catalyst to further the conversation of toxic masculinity.
Launching today, the new brand campaign #WhatMakesAMan is, at its core, encouraging freedom of self exploration and focuses upon a new lease of masculinity that is fluid and uninhibited. A house that boasts timeless, modern tailoring that is created with the modern man in mind, the campaign reflects on the idea that a new masculinity should be discussed and explored.
Who's involved in the campaign?
Ambassadors of Zegna's new brand campaign currently include Hong Kong actor Nicholas Tse and two-time Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali—both individuals that recognise the courage and strength of self-acceptance.
Mahershala Ali is widely celebrated for his diverse array of multifaceted roles and Nicholas Tse for his embracement of individuality and activism in challenging stereotypes. Both leaders creatively inspire new definitions of what it means to be a man today; conveying masculinity as a state of mind.
How Ermenegildo Zegna is redefining masculinity
Men are being encouraged to 'get undressed to feel dressed' by revealing their true self. #WhatMakesAMan focuses around, but is certainly not limited to, present-day qualities such as love, failure, fight, risk, dreaming, playfulness, movement, and freedom. The campaign demonstrates going against traditional notions of manhood.
The meaningful yet playful portraits are paralleled with handwritten monochrome imagery against a white canvas. The handwritten imagery—which will also be present on the #WhatMakesAMan T-shirt; with proceeds donated to a global charity which supports education in order to build a future for those less fortunate—is doodled and effortlessly written as though to reflect man's stream of consciousness and inner questioning. It appears almost as if the viewer or wearer had written it themselves.
The video is both artful and enigmatic; opening a direct conversation with its viewers. The closing discourse in which Nichoas Tse asks "That’s my version of a man, what’s yours?" is focal to the theme of #WhatMakesAMan and demonstrates that there is not one definite answer. Zegna have definitely left us thinking: What does our masculinity look like?
Join the conversation
Ermenegildo Zegna is paralleling fashion with current socio-political conversations, definitely something we at Esquire Singapore are on board with. Ermenegildo Zegna is undoubtedly making a step in the right direction by rewriting what it is to be a man today. Opening conversation and accepting whatever the answer may be might not be the answer to breaking all stereotypes, but it's definitely a great start.