Chanel’s ambassadors have recently been some extremely stylish women such as Blake Lively and Kristen Stewart. What made an even stronger statement though, was Willow Smith’s selection as a Chanel ambassador. Willow Smith – Will and Jada Smith’s daughter – is only fifteen years old yet she’s made a big step in adding more diversity in fashion’s big scene.
Diversity is an absolutely critical issue concerning the fashion discourse in Western societies and, even though there have been initiatives from independent fashion voices to diversify the industry, campaigns and products, and to represent different identities, cultural backgrounds, skin colours and body types, the biggest names that dictate the path that mainstream fashion takes often tend to go more slowly.
Just as Beyoncé’s last September’s VOGUE cover (her third one) was of vital importance – even though the fact representation is so limited that, instead of it being a given, it was that big a deal stirred anger, and rightfully so – Willow Smith becoming an ambassador for one of the biggest designer houses in the world and wearing its outfits at events as grand as the Met ball is equally valuable.
Willow Smith is talented and creative, having already launched her own album, being a singer, actor, dancer, and an extremely stylish person who doesn’t mind defying gender norms in her clothing and expression.
Her career started when she was only 9 years old, and today her Instagram is an absolutely gorgeous place to be. She is truly inspirational, especially for a person her age, and doesn’t seem to care about placing limits to what defines her: why should she anyway?
What’s more, she is absolutely conscious in everything she does. Not only does she underline the importance of her inclusion in the Chanel campaign, thanking Karl Lagerfeld for giving her the opportunity to represent black women and go against beauty standards set by white-centered fashion, but she also marched, together with her brother Jaden, in the protests about the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Concerning her Chanel campaign, she says to The Telegraph:
“It’s not every day that a 15-year-old black girl with dreads gets elected to be the Chanel ambassador. […] I know a lot of girls that look like me feel that they’re not beautiful and feel like they don’t have a place in the media or a place in the world. I want them to know that’s not true, and if you’re confident and you love yourself then everything you see, your perception, will start to change and you’ll see things differently. I want to show those girls that might not think they’re beautiful but they are.”
Coco Chanel is kind of an icon for Willow herself, in a relatable and inspirational way. She continues, on The Telegraph:
“I feel like from all the stories that I’ve heard about her- and obviously no one in this day and age really knew her so we don’t really know how she felt in life- but I think she was a very tortured soul.
And the only way she could relieve the pain was through fashion and creation. That pain is the best way to plant a seed. A lot of people don’t understand that you have to experience pain to create greatness within yourself and in the world.”
When it comes to fashion and stylistic expression, she remembers from her childhood:
I would throw on crazy things which just didn’t go together and my Mom would be like ‘are you sure you want to do that?! It’s your decision if you want to do that.’ At a young age we were taught that it’s ok to dress however you want and express yourself. It’s not what anyone else thinks about you, it’s what you think about yourself.”
Relatable, right? I think that the messages she gives through are something to be considered, and I wish I shared her wisdom when I was fifteen.
As for her Instagram account, it’s full of meaningful and well-read messages on feminism, women’s independence and autonomy, posts and photos that criticize colonialism. In my opinion, we should talk more about Willow Smith, because she is the role model most of us needed in our adolescence.