After four whole years, Jaden Smith has returned to London, and no one is more excited than him. Teaming up with luxury retailer Selfridges, Jaden has set up a pop-up for his label MSFTSrep and to highlight his collaborative silhouette, the Vision Racer, with New Balance.
"I love London," Jaden says and proceeds to tell me about the first time he and his collective came to the British capital in 2012. "We had a bunch of MSFTS stickers that we'd given out to so many kids, and they had stuck them all around the city so we actually ended up getting fined," he says with excitement. "I just took that as a good thing. I've felt like ever since then, London was a huge nodal point for the MSFTS movement in general."
This time, Jaden also has his group of friends and fellow MSFTS members with him. Harry Hudson and Téo will be joining Jaden on stage later in the night at the Old Selfridges Hotel, in front of a crowd of fans that haven't seen the singer for years – nor have they been able to go to concerts in over a year. The energy is on top.
It is not only Jaden's music that has evolved since he last visited but also his clothing brand and sense of style. MSFTS now has a new CEO and has moved its production to Italy, something that is opening new doors for the label. "We're taking it to another level," he tells me. "We've always had these ideas of things that we wanted to do that we couldn't really do, but now we're actually able to get those things done, and perform on the level that we want to."
The label has grown so much and has built such a big fanbase that MSFTS is now able to have its own space inside of Selfridges, which is no small feat, but for Jaden it means much more than that. We speak about his sustainability work, passion for the environment, and his constant push for change through his multiple ventures. "I want to be affiliated with companies that are on the cutting edge of things like that," he says, highlighting Selfridges' recycling program and Project Earth.
Pushing the boundaries is something that comes naturally to Jaden. "We have to start somewhere and push slowly," he explains, adding that every single time the label makes a new collection, they try to experiment with new and sustainable materials. "What we came up with this time were these apple leather bags," he says, showing me his own personal tote in black apple leather with white graphic prints across. "Apple leather production, that's the wave."
"The main inspiration behind the collection we say is an organized rebellion within the youth, right? This collection is for people who are truly awake. People who want to change the world," Jaden continues, constantly giving praise to his team for making it happen. "They're just, they're amazing."
Jaden is only 23, and has already built a movement based on inclusion and making the world a better place – whether through clothing or his other ventures. He sees his clothing as "symbols for the movement," and tells me that we are the generation that is going to break the chain.
He also recognizes that big brands are starting to change their practices, and are listening to their younger audience. "Billie Eilish just released entirely vegan shoes, you know what I mean?" His own collaboration with New Balance is vegan, too. "These big companies are starting to realize, oh wow we're not going to be able to do the collaborations that we want to do unless we change our ways. Hopefully, that trickles down into what everyone is doing."
"I've had so many times with this, with the shoes, with music, with the clothes that I just really like, feel like broken down by the whole process," Jaden tells me when I ask him what advice he'd give to young creatives aspiring to break into industries such as music or fashion. "The most important thing is to believe."
"My dad used to tell me this story about this time that a brick wall fell down right by their house," Jaden tells me. "It got completely destroyed, and him and his brother Harry had to rebuild it. They would spend all this time trying to build it, mixing cement and stacking the bricks, and their dad would tell them that it was wrong and they'd have to do it again." It is hard to picture a young Will Smith spending years trying to build a brick wall, but after multiple summers, he managed to finish it.
"If you can lay one perfect brick today, that's fine. Don't think about going to the moon, colonizing, Mars, just one perfect brick today. And then one day you will get to where you're trying to get, and the brick wall will be built."
"The winners are the people that have lost the most," he finishes. "You only see the W's, you know? The L's are behind closed doors. So that's my advice, don't be afraid of taking the L's, because an L isn't a loss – it's a learning experience."
For Jaden, it is all about the process. The growth of his own label reflects that, and he's excited about the future.
You can visit the MSFTS space at Selfridges, and don't forget to take a look at the floating pyramids. "Did you check out our space yet? Did you see the floating pyramids? Those things are sick."