Sometimes the headline really just is: Zendaya is wearing clothes. In this case, though, it’s more about Zendaya really purposely wearing clothes, as the actress uses her own stardom to boost the visibility of burgeoning fashion designers.
In early August, Zendaya starred in a campaign for Smartwater, the Coca-Cola-owned water company that she’s professionally repped since becoming its Global Brand Ambassador in 2022.
The new campaign was interesting in and of itself (hey, it’s Zendaya, baby) but the real hook is that Zendaya didn’t just show up to sell bottles of water — though there’s obviously more than a bit of that going on — she’s actually giving some shine to young designers.
This angle wasn’t the primary hook of the campaign or even really made obvious until Smartwater published a promotional video on August 10 but, yes, this Zendaya-starring ad also highlights custom outfits created by 2023 BFC Newgen recipients Chet Lo, Aaron Esh, Di Petsa, Conner Ives, and LVMH Prize winner Nensi Dojaka, commissioned in part by Smartwater’s Keep It Smart program.
This results in perhaps the most fashion-forward water bottle ad ever, as Zendaya goes to work in some impressively progressive outfits, especially considering the context.
It’s a great initiative because it’s a win-win-win: indie designers get free press, Smartwater and BFC receive some platitudes, and Zendaya, well, she does Zendaya things.
There are actually nearly two-dozen BFC Newgen winners this year alone so don’t be surprised if clothes from, say, Eftychia or SS Daley (another LVMH Prize winner) quietly pop up in some other ad campaigns down the road, hopefully with enough heads-up to the press to ensure that the designers receive deserved attention.
Zendaya, meanwhile, has been Zendaya-ing in private as of late, what with the SAG-Aftra strike keeping actors off the red carpets and their future projects in flux.
Zendaya’s steamy tennis flick Challengers has already been pushed back to 2024 from its original September release date, for instance. and Dune: Part Two, currently scheduled for October 23, is in its own uncertain state.
Still, with Zendaya serves in short supply these days, we’ll take what we can get, especially when she’s giving actual purpose to water bottle ads.
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