Fashion's fixation on the young and beautiful is a never-ending love story. But in an ever-changing and increasingly more-competitive fashion landscape, that obsession with pretty young things is becoming less high school sweethearts and more like flipping through the pages of a junior high school yearbook.
Luxury labels - once shrouded in mystery, refusing the temptations of joining the dot-com-craze under the misguided assumption it would ruin their brands - are now CRYING out loud for attention in the saturated e-spaces they occupy. It was only a matter of time before big brands started going after prepubescent teenyboppers - Generation Z - that are the Internet.
You see, these kids are digital natives. They understand how this shit works. They have Snapchat and Instagram and know how to leverage their coolness into likes and follows. Less than a decade ago, silver screen starlets were the lynch pins of luxury campaigns - remember Uma Thurman in those Louis Vuitton ads or Halle Berry as a Versace goddess? Nowadays, Jaden Smith is an LV campaign star and sister Willow is a Chanel ambassador - both are under 18 years old.
I'm not saying by any means that this is new for fashion. Miuccia Prada has sent 14 year-old girls down runways and Coco Rocha was 17 years old when she landed Vogue editorial after Vogue editorial in 2007. The sea change here though is that fashion's now tired of the millenial younglings - they want Generation Z. If you are 14 and have a dope Instagram page, you too might be in a Balenciaga campaign.
But no tea, no shade, no pink lemonade. I'm fascinated by any new direction fashion takes. It's an industry built on evolution. But this isn't just an evolution, this is a revolution. And what's more is that these youngsters aren't just racially diverse - they are gender fluid, they are sexually non-comforming, they are just as groundbreaking as the shoulder-pad of the 80s.
Lily Rose-Depp - the 16 year-old wunderkind of Jonny Depp and Vanessa Paradis - is a Chanel-clad front row fashion fixture. She also is gender-fluid and proud.
The aforementioned Jaden Smith is Louis Vuitton's shining star for spring. He wears women's clothes unapologetically.
Amandla Stenberg - a proud intersectional feminist - is Teen Vogue's February cover star and rumored to be appearing in an upcoming Stella McCartney ad campaign.
This generation of youngsters is not just a vapid reflection of social media superstardom that segues into fashion 'It' power. They are smart. They are outspoken. They are interesting. They are the future.
So while it's easy to criticize fashion's decision to cast 14 year-olds in ad campaigns, keep in mind that these cool teens are a reflection of how we're raising our next generation. They side with LGBT rights, align with feminism, understand institutionalized racism. They have a voice and aren't afraid to use it. I'd rather see that in fashion than well-coached celebrities who smile and pose but doesn't take sides on any social issues as a means of retaining popularity. These kids just don't give a fuck. It's about time.