Like that moment in the Sex and the City movie when Carrie getting a Vivienne Westwood dress raises the stakes on what was initially meant to be a quiet wedding to Big, Kim Kardashian recently upped the sartorial ante, at least in theory, when she showed up at the Met Gala wearing the exact dress Marilyn Monroe wore for her little "Happy birthday, Mr. President" number.
Nothing like a $6 million garment for a few minutes on the red carpet. (She changed clothes once she got in the doors.)
But Pete Davidson is probably best known for not being that kind of guy. He often appears as a surprise underdog choice alongside well-known women. So Kim goes on being who she is, pushing established boundaries of fashion, and Pete goes on being Pete, despite the gravitational pull of her world. Maybe that's part of his charm.
In any case, something about him inspired H&M Man, whose "Wear That Feeling" campaign is an embodiment of the Pete Davidson vibe.
"The Dentist" features the comedian waiting to be seen about a chipped tooth. He's opted to wear a suit (not the one he sported at the Met Gala), a choice that surprises his dentist.
"The Encounter" is a little jauntier. Pete Davidson walks down the street, wearing an island-print shirt, beside a friend. Somebody keeps complimenting his shirt, but it's not his companion. It's the parrot with its head out the window of a car moving slowly along beside them.
Designed with agency B-Reel, "Wear That Feeling" is not tied to a seasonal collection. It's built on the insight that men don't relate to fashion the same way women do; as opposed to watching runway shows or fashion films (is that, like … Ocean's 8?), they instead draw inspiration from movies, music videos and comedy.
"We are thrilled to be teaming up with Pete Davidson for this H&M Man campaign. Pete's wit and bold personal style embodies what H&M Man stands for—that everyone should be able to feel confident in their personal style," says Oskar Spångberg, global head of marketing and communication at H&M Man.
"Wear that Feeling" is about the freedom of expression and self-confidence that H&M figures is what global men's fashion is about. Pete Davidson was chosen for the bold personal style that operates in contrast to what would otherwise be expected of "the situation you are in," which I'm taking to mean is a reference to his upmarket dating preferences (pretty much all I know about Pete Davidson).
This is slightly more than a petty reflection. Kim's ex, Kanye West, was often credited with transforming her style, making her more palatable to the Anna Wintours of the world. Her style notably changed again after their separation; that she'd opt, now, to be with someone who's not constantly seeking to engulf her in the unity of a statement "look" is telling, part of the narrative in which Pete Davidson finds himself.
That he, in turn, isn't seeking to channel this opportunity to up his own brand equity through fashion also says a lot about him. It would be an easy move. Going for H&M Man instead reinforces his accessible feel.
Kanye West took basic streetwear and made it normcore, something that resembles normality but is a little too confected to be quite that. Pete Davidson is, for all intents and purposes, just normal. You can be normal and still look good. That's H&M's whole thing.
"Clothes don't just make the man, they make the man feel," say Afshin Moeini and Christian Poppius, creative directors at B-Reel in Stockholm. "Throwing on your favorite jacket or sneakers is the quickest way to give yourself a confidence boost. That's what 'Wear that Feeling' is all about."
H&M hopes the work will transform it into the first fashion destination men consider when shopping for clothing. (Your move, Asos!)
Project Lead: Jenny Näslund
Production Manager: Jonathan Johansson & Sara Petrini
Art Buyer: Fanny Karlström & Lina Sköldebrand
Creative Lead: Gustav Carpner
PR Lead: Jennifer Johnson
PR Coordinator: Maria Strandberg
Agency Producer: Camilla Geijer
Media Lead: David Venetiou
Insight Lead: Caroline Georgsson
Creative: Anna Hellden & Patrik Andersson
Copywriter: Lotta Glimstedt
Fashion Coordinator: Jessica Bjurström
Retouch Specialist: Per Gysing
Agency: B-Reel Stockholm
Executive Creative Directors: Zack McDonald
Creative Director: Afshin Moeini & Christian Poppius
Strategist: Thomas Eon
Brand Director: Caroline Deas-Ehrnvall
Brand Manager: Hannah Håål
Design Director: Gustav Stockman
Designer: Lisa Nyberg
Production company Film: Anonymous Content
Director: Tim Godsall
Executive Producer: Tor Fitzwilliams
Producer: Laura Miller
Director of Photography: Oliver Miller / Evan Prosofsky
Production Designer: Mark Snelgrove
Stylist: Ellie Grace Cummings / Thom Murray
Editor: Amanda Jensen, Final Cut
Sound Mix: Andreas Andersson, Ponytail Sound
Senior VFX Artist: Olle Black, Tint
Account Manager: Robeson Jackson, Tint
Production company Stills: Mamma Team
Photographer: Quentin de Briey