Stuttgart. Mercedes-Benz today announces How To - the latest iteration of the #mbcollective fashion story, which is dedicated to championing emerging fashion talent and bringing people from different creative spheres together to generate pioneering ideas. The platform will see a cast of leading creatives from around the world spend a day with experts learning a new skill before demonstrating how to do it. Stepping outside your comfort zone is never easy, and on this journey of self-growth, the participants will motivate and inspire with their stories of strength, character and determination, as well as break down stereotypes. The 2019 #mbcollective protagonists comprise of some of the most exciting names in the worlds of film, music and fashion, including screenwriter Lena Waithe, the model Jazzelle Zanaughtti (aka @UglyWorldWide), singer Rina Sawayama and menswear designer Samuel Ross.
“Stepping outside your comfort zone is never easy. With “how to” our aim is to motivate and strengthen people in their journey of self-growth and change. As the inventor of the automobile, we know that constant change is key to success. Pioneering mobility is at the core of Mercedes-Benz’ DNA, and more specifically the EQC, which features in the How To fashion story and launches in the autumn”, says Bettina Fetzer, Vice President Marketing Mercedes-Benz Passenger Cars. “The EQC is set to drive us towards a cleaner future today and for generations to come. How To builds on this idea of self-improvement and demonstrates the power of inquisitiveness”.
But the How To fashion story is just one signifier of Mercedes-Benz’ evolution from automobile company to mobility solutions provider, developing unique offerings for car-sharing, ride-hailing, parking, charging and multimodal transport. Through combining pioneering technology and unparalleled engineering, Mercedes-Benz is making moves to reduce traffic in urban areas, minimize pollution and dynamism.
More than just cars, Mercedes-Benz is about constant innovation, recognising people’s ambitions and adapting to facilitate them; learning how to increase mobility in a holistic sense.
How will How To take shape?
Kicking off this May with Jazzelle Zanaughtti, throughout 2019 each protagonist will spend 24 hours with a group of experts learning a new skill before demonstrating their aptitude that evening at an exclusive press event. Members of the public will then be invited to participate in a masterclass so that they too can increase their creative agility and in turn better themselves.
Throughout the year, Mercedes-Benz will post a series of Instagram How To video guides under the hashtag #BenzKnowsHow to further inspire new learnings.
Lena Waithe In 2017 Emmy Award winning writer and creator Lena Waithe made history as the first African-American woman to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for her work on Netflix’s Master of None. Prior to that the polymath screenwriter and actress also turned her hand to producing for the satirical comedy-drama Dear White People and in 2018 she made her big screen debut in Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-nominated sci-fi Ready Player One. Some of Waithe’s work is autobiographical, including the 2018 drama The Chi (season 2 airs in April) and Thanksgiving (the episode of Master of None that won her the Emmy). Demonstrating that fame can be a force for good, the 34-year-old has used her airtime to great effect, sending out a powerful message to the LGBTQ+ community in her Emmy acceptance speech. Lena acts as Creative Consultant on the How To intiative.
Lena Waithe on How To: “I was really honoured when Mercedes-Benz said it wanted to work with me because I've always admired the brand. Mercedes-Benz is one of the few brands that is a part of Americana; every brand wants to be, but in order to do that you have to be outstanding, you have to be phenomenal, and you have to stand the test of time. And that's how I want to be remembered.”
She’s walked the runway for Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty line, graced the cover of Interview and i-D magazines, and appeared in Nike campaigns and Vogue editorials, but Jazzelle Zanaughtti is so much more than a model. Through her Instagram @UglyWorldWide, the Detroit native upends traditional notions of beauty by posting images of her captivating, gender-defying looks and encourages others to do the same. As the 23-year-old’s 500k+ followers prove, her message has struck a chord, namely with legendary fashion photographer Nick Knight to whom she has played muse since 2016 when he stumbled across her account.
Jazzelle Zanaughtti on How To: “ How To is about expanding yourself and believing that you can and are able to do something new, and to learn something that you don't already know how to do. I hope to inspire fearlessness with How To, because you can't be afraid when you are trying something new.”
The Japanese-British musician, model and actor started her solo music career after graduating from Cambridge University in 2012. Rina rapidly attracted the attention of press with her early bedroom-produced tracks such as “Tunnel Vision” and “Cyber Stockholm Syndrome”. In 2017 she released her critically acclaimed mini-album “RINA” which saw grace the cover of Clash Magazine, Sunday Times Style, PETRIe and Free Magazine as well collaborate with creative contemporaries such as Nicola Formichetti (who creatively directed her “Alterlife” video) and Charli XCX (who asked her to perform with her at her London show). Alongside her music career she has also modelled for MAC, Versace and GCDS and recently appeared in new Netflix show “Turn Up Charlie".
Rina Sawayama on How To: “How To for me is always bettering myself, always challenging myself and pushing myself to be the best self that I can be.”
In the four short years since British designer Samuel Ross launched A-COLD-WALL*, what started as an art project based on exploring the cultural diversity of the UK has, through major investment and 120+ stockists, quickly grown into a £7million brand. The 27-year-old Architectural Association and Nike collaborator, believes fashion should be political and he uses his collections to make statements about the broader cultural zeitgeist. Last year his efforts and talent, which transcend architectural athletic wear and graphic detailing (he has a first-class degree in graphic design and illustration from De Montfort University) saw him win the British Emerging Menswear Designer award at the Fashion Awards and shortlisted for both the LVMH Prize for young designers and ANDAM 2018. Samuel features within 2019’s Forbes 30 under 30.
Samuel Ross on How To: “What attracted me to working with Mercedes-Benz is this idea of efficiency, mobility and a focus on the future. It’s incredible how something that began as an automotive narrative is developing further into painting components of what the future may look like. How To in my own words really is about how to innovate, how to move forward, how to embrace mobility and how to become agile.”
Mercedes-Benz is championing new creative talent through every element of the How To fashion story, down to the clothes worn by the protagonists in the 2019 campaign images. Lena Waithe and Samuel Ross are wearing Ross’s label A-COLD-WALL*, Jazzelle Zanaughtti wears Xiao Li, while Rina Sawayama is dressed in Julia Seemann. Meanwhile, the car featured in the fashion story is part of the Mercedes-Benz EQC electric vehicle range which launches in the autumn – designed to help the world drive towards a greener future.
Follow @MercedesBenzFashion as we explore the journeys of @LenaWaithe, @RinasOnline, @srd_______ and @UglyWorldWide as they prepare to learn something new. #BenzKnowsHow #MercedesBenzFashion
Ten years of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Talents
In 2009 Mercedes-Benz established the group's own programme, "Mercedes-Benz Fashion Talents", to support young people in the world of fashion. The goal has been to help pave the way for talented designers to enter the fashion sector outside of their home markets and provide them with support in their international careers. Over the past ten years, as part of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Talents the automotive manufacturer has enabled shows to be held for more than 90 aspiring designers on approximately 30 platforms around the world, including in Milan, London, Prague, Istanbul and Berlin. The programme is growing continually and is being extended on an on-going basis with new initiatives and partnerships. The overview of engagement is updated on a yearly basis.
24 years of Mercedes-Benz fashion activities
Over a period of 24 years Mercedes-Benz has established itself worldwide as a major player in the fashion industry and title sponsor of selected fashion weeks and events. The brand is currently active at about 80 fashion events in more than 40 countries, including the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Weeks which take place in Sydney, Mexico City, London, Madrid, Tbilisi and Berlin, and also the famous International Festival of Fashion, Photography and Fashion Accessories in Hyères. Furthermore, since 2017 Mercedes-Benz has been a member of the Fashion Council Germany (FCG) and since 2018 a member of the German Fashion Designers Federation e.V. (GFDF). The overview of engagement is updated on a yearly basis.