MSFTS streetwear was designed to challenge the system. Now, a decade later, Jaden Smith and his co-founders see turning it into a sustainable luxury brand as the best way to get that message across.
It’s been a decade since MSFTS—the vegan streetwear company created siblings Jaden and Willow Smith and actor Moises Arias and his brother Mateo aka Téo—launched to rave reviews.
The brand’s ethos was always coated in a confrontational counterculture edge. But now it’s taking that to include sustainability, a way to engage youth—the founders included—in a conversation about the future of the planet.
For Jaden Smith, now 23, it’s nearly a lifetime since the brand debuted. And a lot has changed since then for him personally, and the world.
Most recently, the multi-hyphenate entrepreneur found inspiration after a visit to Italy that’s helped MSFTS pivot into a luxury brand.
Changing the world
“Before we went to Italy, we didn’t work as professionally as we do now,” Smith told W Magazine. “Before, it was just us making the clothes and releasing whenever we wanted, off the schedule. Now, we’re taking this seriously—but at the same time, we’re being equally as reckless and all over the place with our designs.”
The founders say they see the brand as a way for them to make an imprint on the world, “change it for the positive and make it work more harmoniously with human nature.”
There are challenges there inherent to producing new clothing—even the most sustainable materials and practices contribute to the hamster wheel of emissions keeping us from meeting Paris Agreement targets and frequent UN warnings.
But Smith says sustainability does matter—and if more companies make the shift away from hat he calls the “blind way,” things can change.
“That was a huge part of moving over to Italy: for sustainability, and making sure the people who are making these clothes are getting paid the right amount of money and their health is being taken care of,” he says.
The label is vegan and sustainable, using animal-free leather. Smith has his sights set on apple leather accessories—a move one of his brand partners Samsung just made with a new collection of watch brands.
He’s also keen to dive into upcycling and deadstock use.
“I want to take old clothes and print on them instead of creating more clothes. I want to make sure people are actually donating the clothes 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 moving forward, other brands can be inspired by what we’re doing.”
MSFTS is sure to find support from its target audience. A survey published last month found the environment is a top concern for Gen-Z. They’re more prone to support brands that are invested in making a difference on environmental and social justice issues.
For Smith, that’s evident.
“We want to begin to set trends within the fashion industry, the way Elon Musk has done in the electric car industry—he’s making all of these car companies switch over to electric. You’re going to see a bunch of other people using sustainable practices just as an industry standard now. That’s what we want to do with MSFTS.”