Ermenegildo Zegna has launched a new campaign that explores the question, "What Makes a Man?" Through the initiative, the Italian menswear brand aims to contribute to the ongoing dialogue surrounding toxic masculinity in hopes of further encouraging men to step out of the confines of traditional, unhealthy expectations to craft their own identities.
Love Makes a Man
To highlight the beauty of a more diverse vision of masculinity, Zegna has cast two striking and creative faces: Mahershala Ali and Nicholas Tse. Ali, an actor most known for his Oscar-winning appearances in Moonlight and Green Book, may look the typical macho man in ways, but the campaign videos highlight the beauty of his soft side. In one clip, the actor holds a flower, plucking petals as he talks about love. Tse, who works across multiple industries from music to film to food, lounges confidently as he asserts that the traditional characteristics of a man are limiting to him. It's no wonder that someone whose talents are too wide-ranging to stay within one field would also want to break down gendered expectations, and hopefully, this philosophy spreads to show men and others that they can create their own future.
Work Makes a Man
The campaign features handwritten notes asking “What does it mean to be a man today?” The use of handwriting is an unmistakable symbol of individuality, displaying that a man’s experience of his masculinity should be purely a personal one, not dictated by those around him. The note doesn’t ask what it means to be a man, period. Instead, it presents a more malleable question, “What does it mean to be a man today?” One of Zegna’s goals with this campaign is to evoke a sense of change. A man today may not look like a man in the future, and a man of the past sure as hell is not the same as a man today.
Zegna has also designed a T-shirt for the #WHATMAKESAMAN campaign that will be available for purchase in stores. Proceeds from the shirt will go to a global education charity.