ZEGNA explores #WHATMAKESAMAN


“Men have been the core of our business since 1910,” claimed Ermenegildo Zegna. For more than a century, Zegna has been the point of reference for men’s classic elegance.  Along with it, the brand has spent decades building the image of a true gentleman, as its ideal customer. But times have changed. Today, modern masculinity is not that easy to label. It just does not suffice to synthesize this definition (a general, albeit, endearing and always fascinating) of a gentleman. Being a man today can be tough, which is why classical brands want to look deeper inside their identities and values in order to respond to the new and multifaceted definition of what it means to be a man.
 
“What makes a man today? What does manhood mean in the world we are living in?” Let the brainstorming begin. 
 
In popular society, the topic has been rendered much more interesting, especially when the notion originates from a vanguard menswear brand like Zegna. The Fall/Winter 2019 collection campaign was revealed during New York Fashion Week, at an intimate event that hosted Oscar-winning actor and brand testimonial Mahershala Ali (star of Moonlight, Green Book). Alessandro Sartori, creative director of Ermenegildo Zegna, was by his side and discussed the issues that inspired him and his team to investigate the meaning of masculinity in an ever-evolving society that never stops questioning rules and seemingly established concepts.

“What does it mean to be a man today? There is not a single answer; rather, there are many,” Sartori said, explaining what lies behind the #whatmakesaman tease. “The world we live in is fluid and constantly evolving. The same goes for the concept of masculinity. With this campaign, we wanted to express the values in which we believe, because in such a complex and globalized world we think it is also an act of courage deciding to open up about the fundamental values of the company. We do not want to redefine, but to open a discussion on the concept of masculinity as a state of mind. That takes on different meanings and includes many features: courtesy, kindness, patience, vulnerability, wisdom, eccentricity. In addition, dignity and openness to accept and embrace the contradictions of life, to evolve day by day, remaining honest to the self, constantly changing their perspective and attitudes. The campaign is intended to be a platform for discussion, recognizing that it takes courage to express a new type of masculinity, perhaps different from the idealized versions that have existed for so long.”
 
Idealized versions attributable to a stereotyped model of man include: successful, strong, straight. But nowadays the concept of gender and inclusivity remain delicate and constantly in flux. Men of today do not need to demonstrate a proverbial sense of masculine strength anymore. Many feel dignified expressing kindness and their feelings through dialogue. In a few words, we could say that masculinity today is a state of mind: men embrace their own views about it and care less about what it means to go against the grain and the “classic” concepts of yesteryear.
Zegna’s aim is not to impose a vision – that would be contradictory, inconsistent – rather to leave the discussion open-ended. “Our values are solid at the core, but they keep evolving with time,” Ermenegildo explained.
 
For the modern man, evolving with the times also means more than just caring about themselves and gender-related issues, but also expanding their sensibility and consciousness to grasp the environment and the society around them.
 
Love, failure, struggle, risk, dreams, playfulness, movement, freedom: these are the new characteristics that make the man of today, according to Zegna. “But it is always possible to add new traits,” Sartori said, stressing the importance of exploring topics outside of the company’s realm. “Men are complex and constantly evolving,” Sartori added.
 
“The ultimate goal is to open a door, let ideas unravel, accept the form they will take. Openness and the will to accept change as the force that shapes life, makes the man. The final message, after all, is acceptance and, ultimately, self-acceptance. Of kindness as the supreme form of strength.”
 
Zegna commitment is even more important in a fashion universe where the attention to the LGBTQ community’s cause is ever ascending. It’s impossible to forget Christopher Bayley’s farewell show for Burberry, a true statement in favor of the community led by model Cara Delevingne.
Other forms of support have been shown by the top ten’s names in the industry, such as Karl Lagerfeld and Nicolas Ghesquière. Louis Vuitton’s artistic director discovered transgender model Teddy Quinlivan who had been walking the runways for about two years before revealing her status. After the announcement, she was the first transgender model to walk for Chanel and to be chosen as the house beauty ambassador.
Several among the top sportswear brands have joined the cause, too, this year, realizing capsule collections of shoes inspired by the LGBT flag: Adidas, Under Armour, New Balance, and Nike, to name a few.
Later last Summer, Gucci was at the top of a list of first luxury brands signing a petition to the American Court of Justice, in order to ask for an improvement of  laws and general working conditions for homosexuals in job environments. A mainstream to be continued.

SHARE
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
SIMILAR ARTICLES
Issey Miyake Releases Exclusive Documentary
By Alice Ierace
Issey Miyake released an unpublished docu-film that shows the birth and evolution of the...
By Alice Ierace
Issey Miyake released an unpublished docu-film that shows the birth and evolution of the collection Homme Plissé Issey Miyake and shares a message of freedom, movement and comfort as new codes for men's clothing.Opening with a scene from Flying Bodies, a video that captures the 2013 performance...
Issey Miyake released an unpublished docu-film that shows the birth and evolution of the collection Homme Plissé Issey Miyake and shares a message of freedom, movement and comfort as new codes for men's clothing.Opening with a scene from Flying Bodies, a video that captures the 2013 performance of the Aomori University Men's Rhythmic Gymnastics Team which marks the debut of the collection, the...
OP-Ed: Is Voice Technology the Future of Retail?
By Elisa Carassai
Will the voice-operated assistant change the way we...
By Elisa Carassai
Will the voice-operated assistant change the way we shop?   The first time I came across Amazon’s Alexa, I was amazed by the fact that a voice-operated assistant could work so well. Having Siri on my iPhone, I had never really made use of the...
Will the voice-operated assistant change the way we shop?   The first time I came across Amazon’s Alexa, I was amazed by the fact that a voice-operated assistant could work so well. Having Siri on my iPhone, I had never really made use of the voice-operated system integrated inside my phone, as it would often fail to correctly execute my...
Cult Scandi Brand Cecilie Bahnsen Debuts Shoe Collection With Charles Keith
By Elisa Carassai
Joining forces this week are designers Charles & Keith and Cecile Bahnsen, who collaborated on an...
By Elisa Carassai
Joining forces this week are designers Charles & Keith and Cecile Bahnsen, who collaborated on an exciting shoe line inspired by traditional school-wear. The collection features some of the most classic Charles & Keith shapes and silhouettes which are reinterpreted by Bahnsen and finished with...
Joining forces this week are designers Charles & Keith and Cecile Bahnsen, who collaborated on an exciting shoe line inspired by traditional school-wear. The collection features some of the most classic Charles & Keith shapes and silhouettes which are reinterpreted by Bahnsen and finished with her signature brooch. Four various styles are featured including three Mary Jane designs and a...
Five CBD Brands That Are Doing it Right
By Ludovica Parisi
CBD is being marketed everywhere. From oils and topicals to edibles, there are now infinite ways...
By Ludovica Parisi
CBD is being marketed everywhere. From oils and topicals to edibles, there are now infinite ways to introduce cannabidiols in your lifestyle. However, as buyers get overwhelmed by the number of products being launched every week, companies have to work harder to stand out from the competition....
CBD is being marketed everywhere. From oils and topicals to edibles, there are now infinite ways to introduce cannabidiols in your lifestyle. However, as buyers get overwhelmed by the number of products being launched every week, companies have to work harder to stand out from the competition. So, what is the strategic approach to ensure people’s trust in a product? The answer lies in the...
Cuoio di Toscana Launches Campaign Against Domestic Violence
By Alice Ierace
Italian sole-leather brand Cuoio di Toscana, alongside many companies and institutions of fashion...
By Alice Ierace
Italian sole-leather brand Cuoio di Toscana, alongside many companies and institutions of fashion and luxury leather goods, shared their the commitment to defend women. “Violence against women does not go into quarantine: at the expense of the current moment of emergency, the numbers affecting...
Italian sole-leather brand Cuoio di Toscana, alongside many companies and institutions of fashion and luxury leather goods, shared their the commitment to defend women. “Violence against women does not go into quarantine: at the expense of the current moment of emergency, the numbers affecting this social injury show no sign of diminishing and, if we consider the case of domestic violence in...
Burberry Reports Significant Revenue Loss
By Rebecca Hitchon
Luxury fashion house Burberry has released its preliminary results for the past financial year...
By Rebecca Hitchon
Luxury fashion house Burberry has released its preliminary results for the past financial year ending 28th March, revealing the impact of COVID-19 on the business.Although the report discusses positive responses to its SS20 and AW20 collections and sales higher than expected earlier in the...
Luxury fashion house Burberry has released its preliminary results for the past financial year ending 28th March, revealing the impact of COVID-19 on the business.Although the report discusses positive responses to its SS20 and AW20 collections and sales higher than expected earlier in the year, the outbreak of COVID-19 in late January negatively affected the financial year. Store closures,...
Meryll Rogge’s Last Days of Disco
By Elisa Carassai
New York has always been a source of inspiration for...
By Elisa Carassai
New York has always been a source of inspiration for creatives. From writers, to artists, poets and designers, the city that never sleeps always seems to provide the right canvas for the creation of the most exciting ventures.   One of these...
New York has always been a source of inspiration for creatives. From writers, to artists, poets and designers, the city that never sleeps always seems to provide the right canvas for the creation of the most exciting ventures.   One of these creatives is 35-year-old Meryll Rogge. A former student of Walter Van Beirendock at Antwerp’s Academy...
Hindsight: Yale Photography On Sexuality and Mundanity
By Sasha Regazzoni
“When you think of your insides, do you imagine a river or...
By Sasha Regazzoni
“When you think of your insides, do you imagine a river or a volcano or … ? What is pleasure without climax? Can there be art without ego?”   In the opening essay of ‘Hindsight’, Yale School of Art’s 2020 MFA Photography graduate show which...
“When you think of your insides, do you imagine a river or a volcano or … ? What is pleasure without climax? Can there be art without ego?”   In the opening essay of ‘Hindsight’, Yale School of Art’s 2020 MFA Photography graduate show which launched last week, writer and visual artist Carmen Winant poses a series of “Questions for...