We speak to the LA-based rapper about his trippy fashion collection, sustainability, and Ted Talks
Dazed Faves is the series where we talk all things online – that surreal meme account you’re obsessed with, weird conspiracy theory subreddits, ASMR YouTubes, or slime Instagrams.
Jaden Smith doesn’t like the internet, which, given that the topic is the basis of this interview, has put a considerably hefty spanner in the works.
The 21-year-old rapper, fashion designer, and actor has just dropped Trippy Summer, a new line of clothing named after the much-romanticised 1967 Summer of Love. Designed as part of his new ERYS Presents: Everything Bad For You collaboration with Selfridges, trippy tye dye hoodies in pastel shades of blue, yellow, and pink, branded t-shirts, and pink-stained, blue-wash denim jeans, upcycled using discarded Levi’s, make up the bulk of the offering.
But it’s not just clothes. Selfridges has also handed over the keys to its Designer Street Room, where Smith has set up an indoor skate bowl flanked by skateboards, from which a steady stream of teens pour in and out, hoping to get a glimpse of the pink-haired enigma. Turns out, he’s sitting on a sofa in the store’s personal shopping space: a quilted room with a secret door and its own private reception (literally: you have to press a red button to get in).
Entering, I’m handed a carton of Just Water (a sustainable brand of water founded by Jaden, and championed by his dad, Will Smith), because though Jaden isn’t so into the internet, one thing he does like is sustainability. “It's always just having that mindset of trying to push the boundaries and trying to find more sustainable ways of just doing these things, you know.”
In fact, Jaden and his sister Willow are so into sustainability, both were billed to speak at the global climate strike in New York, which took place days after this interview. Naturally, I ask about him about Greta Thunburg, who is arguably the biggest voice in the movement. “I've no idea what that is,” he replies. “You know, that 16-year-old Swedish activist?” I prompt him, to which he replies: “She's an environmental activist?” We can only assume Jaden was having a mental blip given that Thunburg spoke alongside the musician at the march.
Aside from this, his answers are what you’d expect from someone who’s been in media their entire lives, or perhaps someone whose dad is Will Smith. In this case, it’s both. When asked why he launched his collection in London, his response: “it's where some of my streams have been the highest for, like, my whole musical career”. As for the weirdest person to slip into his DMs, it’s his dad. The music he’s listening to the most? His sister, Willow.
It’s pretty prepped stuff when you consider this is a guy whose latest album is a concept piece about a renegade Los Angeles leader called Erys who gives a pink-coloured mind control drug to the masses. Below, we speak to the musician about his fave music, Youtube channels, and online brands.
FAVE STREAMED MUSIC: HOMESHAKE, WILLOW
Jaden Smith: I mean, Homeshake just has the trippiest, dopest albums. His album Helium is just amazing. So yeah, I've been listening to that, been listening to my sister's album, and a lot of unreleased music that we have over at MSFTS. I've also been recording songs with, like, my young cousins and young nieces who are like six and seven, so I have them in the studio. Their songs are really interesting.
FAVOURITE YOUTUBE CHANNEL: TED TALKS, CRASHCOURSE HISTORY
Jaden Smith: Yeah, I just love to watch TED talks, that's what I've been obsessed with on the internet because, you know, you are what you eat and you also are what you watch sometimes – we can really take away a lot from the things that we watch and the things that we're exposed to. We kind of get molded by our surroundings in a way and social media, even though it's not actually surrounding you, it kind of becomes a part of you. You learn things from it, and you take things away from it, and it changes the way you think about the world around you. So that's why I've been obsessed with: TED talks. My favourite would be Al Gore’s second TED talk, because I'm really into sustainability and the environment.
CrashCourse History is a show by John Green and it's just the best show of all time. John Green is the author of “Fault In Our Stars”, and he's also really smart so his show’s the best. Science, chemistry, biology, whatever – I just watch them all.
FAVE BRAND: PRECIOUS PLASTIC
Jaden Smith: Precious Plastic is a company that pretty much take these old plastic bottles of water and stuff, and just trash you find, and they shred them and then they repurpose them into whatever they want. They can injection mould them into all these different things, and they create all these different products that are made from recycled plastic. But then they also create blueprints for machines and then they put those blueprints online and they allow people to make the machines and then like 3D mould them.