The new face of Calvin Klein’s Womenswear
With their recent Fall campaign featuring an eclectic mix of figures ranging from Frank Ocean to footballer James Rodriguez – could we really be surprised when 24 year-old Atlanta rap sensation Young Thug was also added to Calvin Klein’s marketing mix? No, not at all. And I doubt that we would even be writing about this if he, like the aforementioned male celebrities, was simply modelling for the menswear section. However, it’s the fact that Young Thug has been chosen as the new face of the womenswear line that has got everyone talking.
Speaking out in his #mycalvins promotional video that “you can be a gangster with a dress or you can be a gangster with baggy pants”, Young Thug is famous for wearing women’s clothing because he likes the tight fit and aesthetic of the clothes. But Thug goes on even further in his apostasy on gender constructs by stating that he “feels like there’s no such thing as gender”, a notion that coincides more with Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble than it does with the typical machismo spiel of the music industry.
Before heralding Young Thug as the next great savour of feminism, we must bear in mind that this is all coming from the same man who has six children by four women and whose songs include lyrics about eating booty like groceries. So, perhaps Thugger might not have been the best man that Calvin Klein could have picked to pave the path forward for gender equality. But just maybe that’s what makes the message so powerful, with Young Thug’s surprisingly liberal views when it comes to dress contrasting from the general opinion of a genre that is often heavily criticised for its lack of tolerance for anything vaguely effeminate.
Despite the flak it often receives from the general public, hip-hop is certainly one of the most progressive musical genres in terms of fluid-fashion, with high-profile rappers such as A$AP Rocky, Kanye West, Kid Cudi all rocking a style heavily influenced by the cuts and silhouettes of the womenswear world.
Those criticising Young Thug as not being hip-hop for wearing women’s clothes are only marking themselves out as those painfully unaware of what hip-hop actually means. Hip-hop is not about fancy cars and flaunting cash: hip-hop is a movement about fighting the narrow-mindedness of establishment, not giving a damn about what anyone else thinks, and expressing yourself in any way you deem fit. What Young Thug is doing through his clothing is just that, and it’s a refreshing sight to see. Those questioning the relevancy of the campaign due to it neither specifically targeting men nor women are also missing the most pertinent point: that there is no target market. The clothes being presented aren’t for solely men or women. They are for everyone. They are for the people.
This isn’t the first time that a male celebrity has found himself directly involved in the marketing of women’s fashion either, with Jaden Smith having already been announced as the face of Louis Vuitton womenswear earlier this year. Both of these decisions have received a great deal of attention from the mainstream media, with this clearly being a polarising issue that has brought eyes to the brands and the issues that they are trying to address. Whether you think Young Thug in a dress is a good thing or a bad thing, it’s sparking debate about a subject that is generally seen as too taboo to talk about. And we can’t see any harm in that.