The push towards gender equality and inclusion around the world, combined with the global `Me Too’ movement has forced men in recent times to introspect and relook at the traditional notions of masculinity. This has manifested itself in several ways: men are increasingly conscious and cautious about actions or talk that could be interpreted to be sexist, or seem to stem from old notions of male privilege and patriarchy; traditional gender roles are getting upended at a pace faster than ever before; men are much more comfortable showing their emotion in public; even the blurring of gender lines in the fluid fashion choices of the millennials point to a shift in how men perceive themselves.

This change in male thinking is what Eremengildo Zegna wants to explore through their new worldwide campaign under the rubric of `What does it mean to be a man today?’ The Italian luxury brand which has clothed successive generations of men for over a century, wants this campaign to be an international platform for discussion, conversation and even some `provocation’ on the sensitive subject, with Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali and popular Honk Kong-Chinese actor-singer Nicholas Tse as its global faces. “We recognize that it takes courage to express a new type of masculinity – a masculinity that is, perhaps, different from the idealized versions of masculinity that have existed for so long” the brand  says in a press release, “With a deep respect for this courage, Zegna, a brand rooted in tailoring and fine craftsmanship, is also embracing an idea of masculinity that is fluid, sensitive, and unequivocal.”

 

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As part of the campaign on Instagram, Zegna has showcased portraits of men from all walks of life placed alongside scribbled with handwritten notes that convey a sense of constant questioning on the subject. The campaign touches on love, failure, fight, risk, dreaming, playfulness, movement, and freedom as some of the qualities that make a man today, asking users to add to this list and their own opinion and ideas about the new masculinity. A key component of the campaign is the #WHATMAKESAMAN T-shirt that is worn by the participants, and which is available to buy at Zegna boutiques.

 

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The Zegna family’s philanthropic arm Fondazione Zegna has teamed up with Italian humanitarian organization Cesvi for this campaign. The partnership called `From A to Zegna’ – will provide a variety of educational programs that challenge stereotypes about `manliness’ and related issues. The programme includes workshops on peer-to-peer communication, group discussions, and collaborations with local universities. Proceeds from the sale of #WHATMAKESAMAN T-shirts will support Cesvi in this mission.