Ermenegildo Zegna, the premium menswear brand that has been clothing men for 110 years, has launched a new campaign #WHATMAKESAMAN, to ignite a conversation about what it means to be a man in the 21st century.
Masculinity today is expressed as a state of mind, not a set of rigid rules. The man of this century is more accepting of his inner weaknesses and strengths and is more willing to define his own view of what masculinity is, even if this means going against traditional notions of manliness.
The man of today is more accepting of his fragility and failures because he is aware that overcoming his fragility and learning from his failures can make him a better person tomorrow. The man of today has learned to embrace love as a positive force. He is aware that exploring his imagination is an enriching voyage of self-discovery, and that dreams and playfulness can also be the qualities exhibited by adults. The man of today is expected to be dignified and to embrace openness, to accept and embrace the contradictions of life, and to evolve day by day through a willingness to change.
A purveyor of the finest men’s clothing for over a century, Zegna has witnessed first-hand the evolution of the definition of what it means to be a man, from the time when the motorcar was first invented to today’s world of self-driving cars; from when men were expected to conform to strict and elaborate rules of etiquette and presentation to today, where the rules are far more relaxed and far more subject to one’s interpretation.
“Over the last one hundred and ten years, Zegna has always adopted an ever-evolving mindset. Now the brand seeks to encourage an open conversation around what makes a man today. We have no answers to this question, nor any bold statements to make; rather, we seek to pose questions and foster a dialogue.” – Ermenegildo Zegna
Mahershala Ali and Nicholas Tse are on board as the faces for the #WHATMAKESAMAN campaign. Both personify the flexibility and openness demanded of the man of today. Two-time Oscar winner Mahershala Ali “is a versatile actor who has depicted and embodied many shades of masculinity,” according to Zegna. “He brings a personal gravitas and a lightness of spirit, an inner richness and wit.” Meanwhile, the talented and multifaceted artist Nicholas Tse has a “unique personality and passion for the arts, coupled with his determination to challenge stereotypes, making him the perfect voice to explore the meaning of modern masculinity.”
The campaign comprises a series of square portraits juxtaposed with white pages, scribbled with handwritten notes that convey a sense of constant questioning, but no answers are presented. The campaign “asserts love, failure, fight, risk, dreaming, playfulness, movement, and freedom as qualities that make a man today.” However, we are informed, more traits are meant to be added, by the men today. The ultimate goal of the campaign “is to open a door, letting ideas unfold and welcoming the shape they will take.”