June 14, 2021

50signs

The Fashion Spirit

Jaden Smith, Lori Harvey, more celeb kids setting fashion trends

9 min read

Wondering what the next big fashion trends will be? Fashion experts say children of celebrities might offer a clue. 

Though some hailing from famous families pursue careers as actors and musicians, others claim the spotlight in the world of fashion, showing off chic and inventive looks on runways, magazine covers and, of course, social media.

But these celebrity offspring aren’t just pretty people aiming to sell clothes. According to Zoë Hennessey, a Los Angeles-based fashion stylist, children of celebrities are often trailblazers in fashion, pushing style into bold new territory as they form identities outside their parents’ shadows.

“They have to try, almost in a way, even harder to to be seen,” she said. “They have to even be more creative and push themselves more and push their own creative boundaries more, which I think makes them work harder and come up with something new that we haven’t seen before.”

Here’s how celebrities’ kids are shaking up the fashion world:

Leni Klum makes her modeling debut alongside her mother Heidi Klum for the January/February 2021 issue of Vogue Germany.
Vogue Germany/Chris Colls

Leni Klum, 17, has wanted to follow in the footsteps of her supermodel mom Heidi Klum for years. Though she received modeling offers as early as 12, the teen got her official start at 16, posing alongside her mom for the January/February 2021 issue of Vogue Germany.

Her mom told the magazine that 16 was “a good age” to launch a modeling career. 

“If you are allowed to drive a car, you can also have an official Instagram account and show your face,” the veteran model added. “And to be allowed to start with a Vogue cover is an insane privilege.”

’16 is a good age’: Heidi Klum’s daughter Leni makes modeling debut in Vogue Germany

Klum has amassed more than 800,000 followers on Instagram, where she offers behind-the-scenes glimpses at photo shoots, adorable throwbackscandid no-makeup snaps and plenty of outfits from her modeling gigs

According to Raquel Riley Thomas, a Washington D.C.-based beauty and fashion expert who has worked as a model and photographer, Klum isn’t just copying her mom’s cheerful modeling style. Rather, the teen brings an intensity to her shots that reflects her generation’s determination to change the world.

Heidi Klum on her daughter Leni’s recent Vogue cover
If you are allowed to drive a car, you can also have an official Instagram account and show your face. And to be allowed to start with a Vogue cover is an insane privilege.

“The Z Generation is really focused on making a difference, and you can see it in her eyes when you look at her photos,” Thomas says. “She’s saying so much with her eyes without saying anything. And she’s very captivating. Her style is very trendy. It’s very today.”

In the months she’s been modeling, Klum has already experienced major career milestones. She graced the cover of Glamour Germany in April and walked the virtual runway at Berlin Fashion Week in January.

Leni Klum: Heidi Klum’s daughter walks the virtual runway for Berlin Fashion Week

Steve Harvey's daughter Lori Harvey has become a notable fashion figure, with her 3.6 million Instagram followers clamoring to see her latest looks.

Steve Harvey’s daughter Lori Harvey has become a notable fashion figure, with her 3.6 million Instagram followers clamoring to see her latest looks.
Michael Loccisano

Lori Harvey, the daughter of TV host Steve Harvey, is killing the fashion game on Instagram, where she shows off glam looks to her 3.6 million followers.

Whether she’s modeling a sparkling gold Prada gown or a zebra-print Matte Collection dress, Harvey, 24, always keeps it classy, even for casual looks. In an April post, she rocked a relatable groutfit of sweats and a hoodie, while cozying up in a private jet.

Kalie Sacco, the founder of sustainable Los Angeles personal styling service K. Rose Style, describes Harvey’s style as high-class glam, with a modern twist.

“She does a lot of glitzy sequins, sparkles, animal prints, glitz and glam, and then puts a more modern twist on it, with the really popular Gen Z silhouette of a formfitting top and a more loose fitting or wide-legged pants,” Sacco says.

For Harvey, modeling has a bigger purpose than flaunting stylish clothes. After working the Dolce & Gabbana runway in 2017, she opened up about wanting to show young girls of color they have a place in fashion.

“You don’t see a lot of color in the fashion industry in general,” she told BET. “I think I was one of five girls backstage at the show that was African American. Of course it was an honor, but it also shows girls that look like me that you can do this, too. You can break into this industry and play a huge role in it.”

And modeling isn’t the only way Harvey is breaking into the industry. While demonstrating a ’90s-inspired makeup routine for Vogue’s Beauty Secrets earlier this month, Harvey announced her own skincare line is in the works, revealing she tested the products on both herself and her boyfriend, People’s Sexiest Man Alive of 2020 Michael B. Jordan.

Why all eyes are on Michael B. Jordan and Lori Harvey: Everything we know

Lori Harvey’s style is high-class glam with a modern twist, fashion experts say.
Lori Harvey’s style is high-class glam with a modern twist, fashion experts say.
Lori Harvey’s style is high-class glam with a modern twist, fashion experts say.
Vivien Killilea, Getty Images for Roc Nation; Desiree Navarro, WireImage

Like her mother Madonna, Lourdes Leon isn’t afraid to express herself, especially when it comes to fashion. In February, the 24-year-old model posed for the Marc Jacobs Spring Campaign, showing off some of the company’s designer handbags. 

But just because Leon is a model doesn’t mean she’s shy about breaking societal beauty standards. In some of her Marc Jacobs shots, Leon flashes underarm hair, a move her mom has pulled on Instagram. Leon also put her unshaven legs on display while rocking a gauzy white asymmetrical minidress for a 2018 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund event in Brooklyn.

Raquel Riley Thomas, a beauty and fashion expert
She reminds me a lot of her mother with her attitude toward fashion. She’s very edgy and in her own space. She’s just having a great time being who she is, and she’s entertaining the hell out of you.

“She reminds me a lot of her mother with her attitude toward fashion,” says Thomas, recalling Madonna’s “fun and fierce and wild” style in the ’80s. “She’s very edgy and in her own space. She’s just having a great time being who she is, and she’s entertaining the hell out of you.”

Lourdes Leon: Madonna’s daughter wears sheer dress, shows off unshaven legs

Lourdes Leon, Madonna’s daughter, is the new face of Marc Jacobs with a 90’s-inspired look

Pointing to his “long-storied history” with Madonna, Marc Jacobs names her daughter Lourdes as the face of his spring collection.

EJ Johnson, son of Magic Johnson, says he doesn't let gender norms dictate his wardrobe.

EJ Johnson, son of Magic Johnson, says he doesn’t let gender norms dictate his wardrobe. “I’ve always let the clothes speak to me,” he said on a 2018 episode of “Red Table Talk.”
Slaven Vlasic, Getty Images for “To Kill A Mock

EJ Johnson, the son of basketball legend Magic Johnson, isn’t new to the spotlight, having appeared on the reality show “Rich Kids of Beverly Hills” from 2014 to 2016. But the 28-year-old socialite, who will voice a role in an upcoming reboot of “The Proud Family,” shines brightest on Instagram, where he models elegant gowns and high heels to more than 700,000 followers.

During his 2018 appearance on the Facebook Watch show “Red Table Talk,” Johnson, accompanied by his mother Cookie Johnson, opened up to hosts Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith and Adrienne Norris about not letting gender norms dictate his wardrobe.

“I’ve always let the clothes speak to me,” he said. “I’ve never been confined by whether this was in the men’s section or the women’s section. If I feel that this should be on my body, then it should be on my body.”

Hennessey says that, by challenging gender norms, Johnson uses his style “to make more love in the world.”

“It’s very gender fluid, and I think that’s important,” she adds. “The more people see and love him and respond, the more loving and accepting people in the world are going to be.”

Tom Ford’s fashion show:  Magic Johnson is salty his kids got invited and he didn’t

EJ Johnson
I’ve always let the clothes speak to me. I’ve never been confined by whether this was in the men’s section or the women’s section. If I feel that this should be on my body, then it should be on my body.

Lila Moss modeled Fendi's Spring-Summer 2021 collection alongside her mother during Paris Fashion Week in January.

Lila Moss modeled Fendi’s Spring-Summer 2021 collection alongside her mother during Paris Fashion Week in January.
Stephane de Sakutin, AFP via Getty Images

Another teen following in her supermodel mom’s footsteps is Lila Moss, whose mother Kate Moss dominated runways in the ’90s. The 18-year-old recently modeled for British Vogue’s June issue and posed with short hair for W Magazine in March.

According to Sacco, Moss brings a ’90s attitude to Gen Z fashion.

“Lila is definitely embracing her mom’s style. She is totally embodying the ’90s aesthetic,” Sacco said. “The styling is more about making an aesthetic statement than it necessarily is about flaunting a feature or following a traditional rule for dressing.”

Kate Moss: Daughter Lila, 18, makes runway debut at ‘dreamiest’ Paris Fashion Week show

Moss is also no stranger to the runway, modeling Fendi’s Spring-Summer 2021 collection alongside her mother during Paris Fashion Week in January.

In a 2019 Q&A with InStyle, Moss said she’s learned a lot from her mom, but is determined to make her own name for herself.

“Girls like Kaia Gerber, or Gigi and Bella Hadid are great examples,” she said. “They are inspired by their mom’s legacies, but have shown that they each have different and separate paths from their parents. Even though we might carry the same last name, we have to work hard to gain trust and respect in the industry.”

Kalie Sacco, founder of personal styling service K. Rose Style
Lila is definitely embracing her mom’s style. She is totally embodying the ’90s aesthetic. The styling is more about making an aesthetic statement than it necessarily is about flaunting a feature or following a traditional rule for dressing.

Jaden and Willow Smith, seen here with parents Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, have unique styles that complement their Gen Z sensibilities.

Jaden and Willow Smith, seen here with parents Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, have unique styles that complement their Gen Z sensibilities.
Phillip Faraone

Jaden and Willow Smith, the children of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith have spoken out against social norms before — and their unique styles reflect this attitude.

In 2018, Jaden took to Twitter to defend his decision to wear dresses and skirts, telling the haters: “If I Wanna Wear A Dress, Then I Will, And That Will Set The New Wave.” According to Hennessey, the 22-year-old’s eclectic style, which has included intricate patterns and bright vests, goes hand-in-hand with his creative pursuits.

“His fashion is part of his art and his music. They all sort of collide,” she said. “It’s setting trends as opposed to following trends. I think he has a very strong hold of himself and who he is.”

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Willow’s style, Hennessey said, is more tame than her brother’s, but just as authentic. On Instagram, the 20-year-old “Red Table Talk” co-host has shown off graphic tees, tie-dyed sweaters and a loose, mesh top with a black coat.

Sacco said the siblings’ authentic fashion reflects their upbringing.

Kalie Sacco, founder of personal styling service K. Rose Style
Their parents really allowed them to embrace their unique identities and pursue all these creative pursuits from a very young age, so you can see that really come out in the way they dress.

“Their parents really allowed them to embrace their unique identities and pursue all these creative pursuits from a very young age, so you can see that really come out in the way they dress,” she said. “They’re not afraid of being provocative, not afraid to push the envelope and have a less curated aesthetic.”

Contributing: Jayme Deerwester, Rasha Ali

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