With the streetwear campaign “It’s what you do. Or Don’t”, online fashion destination Zalando shows what it really means to express yourself through fashion. In a series of stylish urban films and ads, photographer Vitali Gelwich, director Daniel Wårdh, and stylist Corey Stokes, tell the story of a group of charismatic streetwear personalities in unexpected situations, mixing and matching Zalando streetwear and showing what liberation through fashion really means. In the campaign, we meet a motley crew of expressive streetwear in influencers: Parisian Jean-Jacques N’djoli with his irreplaceable Instagram profile and an impeccable sense of style, Berlin street fashionista and sneaker collector Dilan Kolkilic, the Swedish model Linnea Öhlund with a knack for the street savy model off duty look, and the master of over the top mixing and matching Joël Kurasinski from Valencia. They’re all curating their own eclectic mix of outfits from Zalando, as the campaign inspires people to discover and develop their own streetwear style.

On the theme “It’s what you do. Or don’t”, the campaign shows our in influencers in outfits and situations that first look a certain way – but soon turn out to be something completely different. Playing with contrasts, juxtapositions and shifting perspectives. Showing how streetwear is all in the eye of the beholder, all up to you what you want to express, or not. In “Climb mountains. Or don’t”, Jean-Jacques in ski goggles is moving upwards against a blue sky giving the impression that he is hiking, only to reveal he’s actually walking up a set of outdoor stairs in an urban setting. In “Join the running team. Or don’t”, we see Dilan and Linnea tying their sneakers as a bunch of sporty joggers run by – zoom out and it’s clear that running is the last thing they’ll do, the sneakers are just a part of their ever so urban park outfit. “Be a benchwarmer. Or don’t” shows the gang dribbling a basketball on the sidelines of a court. Zoom out, and we see they’re all wearing VR goggles – fully engaged in their own world and definitely not on any bench. And on it goes in“Be fancy. Or don’t”,“Keep it minimal. Or don’t”and so on. With humor and style, the films show that streetwear has no rules, it’s not a set style or specia brands. It’s all about personal choices and maximum individual expression.

This is Gen Z fashion for people who go their own way: eclectic, postmodern samplers and collaborators who get their inspiration from everywhere and everyone – and make it their own. Strong characters who mix and match their own unique way, high and low, old and new, niche and mainstream. Always de ning and re-defining themselves, always evolving, always making a statement. Or not.

Produced by ACNE, the creative team has been handpicked for their unique mix of strong vision, fashion  and understanding of street culture. Photographer Vitali Gelwich is a Berlin based artist and fashion photographer, known for his raw documentary style and organic mix of high fashion and street culture. Stockholm based director Daniel Wårdh is a Vans sponsored skateboarder who combines the attitude and tempo of street culture with his passion for music and fashion. Stylist Corey Stokes is a super in influencer and art director, stylist and fashion editor at Highsnobiety.

Re-imagining fashion for the good of all, the new Zalando campaign “It’s what you do. Or don’t.” is a loud, fun, and highly personal celebration of our differences – the pursuit of individual expression, to the rhythm of the street. Mixing and matching your own way, creating your own unique combinations like no one else. A unique fashion statement that’s individual, liberating and democratic.

By highlighting the endless combinations and interpretations curated by the in influencers, the “It’s what you do. Or don’t.” campaign highlights how Zalando’s wide range of streetwear inspires and enables people to express their personality through fashion, combining and creating unique outfits in personal ways. Streetwear is rooted in being effortless cool and not looking like you’re trying too hard. It’s a mish-mash of everything and anything. It’s nostalgia and contemporary. New and thrifted. Mixing luxury with everyday casual. Completely bold or utterly au natural. One part super thoughtout, another part super random. And it might seem like there’s no thought at all behind it. But that’s the thing. There is. Streetwear is about being unique and real, expressing yourself, whatever it takes. It’s about finding inspiration where no one else is looking. Or where everyone’s looking. It’s about combos that makes sense just because they don’t. Or out ts that don’t make sense just because they do. It’s about constantly refreshing – or not refreshing at all. About having one look today and then never again. Or the same look every day. That’s the beautiful contradiction of the streetwear attitude. Be ugly, be bold, be weird. Or don’t. Be cute, be pretty, be completely undetermined. Or don’t. Go full denim. Or don’t. Be expressive. Or don’t.

It’s what you do. Or don’t.

Timotej Letonja