What Makes a Man in 2019? Zegna Wants to Help Lead the Conversation
To say the least, the late 2010s have been a time of change. The #MeToo movement, surge in LGBTQ+ rights and “cancel culture” have taken the country by storm, challenging many ideologies once considered societal norms. Subsequently, the narrow way many define manhood and masculinity has also been challenged, leaving some people asking what exactly makes a man in the 21st century?
Menswear label Ermenegildo Zegna, a fixture in fashion for over 100 years, has made the question the center of their latest campaign. #WhatMakesAMan seeks to explore what it means to be a man in this modern climate and uses well-known personalities to lead the conversation. One of those personalities is Mahershala Ali, the two-time Oscar winning actor who delves into what makes manhood for him.
According to 45-year-old Ali, several traits can make a man including risk, failure, love, rise and playfulness, which he talks about while modeling some of Zegna’s newest offerings. He discusses the importance of taking risks and trying to solve things that seem impossible while wearing a sharply tailored black suit. Modeling a neutral knit hoodie and a crisp white t-shirt, he notes how failure can actually clarify your sense of direction in life. He explains the need to embrace love as he rocks a maroon embroidered sweater. Sporting a camel-colored jacket, matching scarf, black turtleneck and slim black trousers, he shares his thoughts on playfulness and emphasizes the importance of being a child of the world.
While the campaign features a number of other famous men including singer Nicholas Tse and tennis player Alexander Zverev, the clothes do not play second fiddle. Clean and sharp, simple but bold, each piece is designed to easily fit into a modern man’s wardrobe. Less about outfits and more about mixing and matching, it is also clear that they are made to be combined to fit the different personalities and identities of each customer. A quote from the campaign helps sum it up. “There is a world to discover, and you get to define it on your own. Each vision is a mirror to yourself, each new identity an attempt to get closer to your truth. This is what makes a man today.”