Jaden Smith on the redesign of MSFTS as a sustainable luxury line
Everything changed for Jaden Smith and his clothing brand MSFTS during his trip to Italy. The musician, actor and designer had worked hard to create MSFTS, a streetwear / skate brand run by Smith, his sister Willow, actor Moises Arias and his brother Mateo aka Téo, and a household name since its first release in 2011. But from that year on, Smith and his associates began making efforts to pivot the brand into the luxury space, first showing Pitti Uomo and then moving production and design studios to Los Angeles to Milan. The brand also has a new CEO, Cristiano Minchio, and a partner company that creates the collections in small batches in Italy.
Smith, speaking on the phone from his home in LA, says he spent most of 2020 playing guitar and writing material for his latest album, Cool Tape Vol. 3. But he also found himself deeply immersed in the process of creating MSFTS – he was making the collection with Willow, Téo and Arias, who all knew they wanted to take the brand in a different direction.
“Before going to Italy, we weren’t working as professionally as we do today,” says Smith. “Before, it was just us making the clothes and getting out when we wanted, off the schedule. Now we take it seriously, but at the same time, we’re just as reckless and ubiquitous with our designs.
A sense of rebellion and counterculture is ingrained in the MSFTS brand codes, says Smith – these aspects of the design will never change. And indeed, in the brand’s latest collection for fall 2021, typical office or class uniforms – blazers, knit vests, pants, structured t-shirts – received the MSFTS treatment, with geometric shapes, skeletal texts and x-rays of the hands holding a middle finger imprinted on it. (Smith says “How laws were developed around certain systems here in America, punk, sacred geometry, and ancient mystery schools,” all of which have been incorporated into the MSFTS mood board.) The main difference this time – this is the way clothes are made: sustainably, and with fewer parts leaving the factory. Smith, his brother, sister and Arias each see the brand as a way to express their hopes for the future, “and how we can leave our mark on the world, change it for the positive and make it work more harmoniously with the world. human. nature, ”says Smith. In a previous interview, he said they all hope to maintain a healthy land to give to their children, expressing a desire to “radically decarbonize the atmosphere”. I point out that starting a clothing brand does the opposite of this, creating more waste, as well as excessive consumption of water and fossil fuels.
“Let’s be clear: if you’re going to do it blind, the normal way, then it’s really the opposite,” Smith says. “This played an important role in the move to Italy: for sustainability and to ensure that the people who make these clothes receive the right amount and that their health is taken care of. We want to start setting trends in the fashion industry, like Elon Musk did in the electric car industry: he’s switching all of these car makers to electric. You’re going to see a bunch of other people using sustainable practices as an industry standard now. This is what we want to do with MSFTS.
The line is completely cruelty-free, using eco-vegan “leather” for its printed tote bags. But Smith hopes to take production to the next level in future collections, making accessories from what he calls “apple leather,” a method that turns apple skin and pulp into faux leather, in. a similar family of mushroom leather products. that Stella McCartney, Iris Van Herpen and other big fashion brands created this year.
The production of apple leather was revealed to Smith during his time in Italy, when he could barely contain the ideas he had for later versions. And it carries this energy into this new phase for MSFTS. “I want to have a full line of apple leather,” he says. “I want to take old clothes and print them instead of making more clothes. I want to make sure that people actually donate the clothes that I don’t sell, instead of destroying them and putting C02 in the atmosphere. I’m trying to create a new status quo within the fashion industry so that in the future other brands can take inspiration from what we do.