In recent years, Chanel has made some long-awaited strides toward inclusivity. In 2018, Alton Mason was the first Black male model to walk the French fashion houses Métiers d’art show in 108 years—a huge feat. The same year, Adut Akech Bior closed Chanel’s bridal show, making her the first Black model to do so in almost 14 years. Chanel also made history by holding its esteemed Métier d’art show in Dakar, Senegal, in 2022, shaking the fashion industry awake.
These steps towards inclusivity have had a ripple effect, influencing popular culture and attracting the attention of prominent figures in the music industry. Rappers Kendrick Lamar and Gunna have embraced Chanel as a symbol of style. Kendrick was seen wearing a white Chanel tweed jacket, paired with a full head-to-toe Chanel ensemble and minute accessories like a pearl necklace, sunglasses, and a bandana. Gunna, known for his “idgaf” cool energy, wore a black Chanel tweed jacket, showcasing his unique style. He had previously been seen wearing a Chanel purse or “man-bag” designed by Pharrell.
Kendrick’s style has been praised time and time again, especially in the last few years. He’s honed in on his stylistic identity, making him a style inspiration for all genders. Gunna’s style evolution has been transformative and surprising, as he experiments with luxury brands in unexpected ways. Pharrell, even before Kendrick and Gunna, wore womenswear Chanel jackets as early as 2016, which likely influenced Chanel’s decision to collaborate with him to design a menswear collection in 2018.
Seeing rappers who often rap about manhood wearing Chanel tweed jackets is not only pushing the boundaries, but also inspiring acceptance in their communities. It sets an example for boys who aspire to be producers like Pharrell and look up to Kendrick and Gunna.
The impact of these fashion choices extends beyond the realm of rap and fashion. They contribute to fostering acceptance within communities, allowing young boys to see themselves represented and inspired. Kendrick Lamar and Gunna’s appreciation for Chanel is influencing a new wave of fashion enthusiasts. In the rap world, where fashion is becoming more creative and open to new ideas, being true to oneself is the ultimate expression of “cool.”