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the coming of age issue

Willow Smith's got teen spirit as the cover star of our Coming Of Age Issue.

Sarah Raphael

Willow wears jacket and top Gucci.

It's just the age, the age where nothing fits. From first times to first loves to first fuck-ups, growing up is hard to explain. If we're to believe the coming of age films, it happens in the second half, after a perspective-altering interaction. Our youth is a comedy of errors, full of excruciating, awkward moments and exhilarating "fuck it" moments, that you'll stop short of later on. 

Fronting 2015 teen spirit on our pre-fall cover is Willow Smith. For Willow, age is "a superficial number calculating how many years your physical body has been on earth, but not your soul." She's all about female energy, relativity and free-thinking individuals. With her, the world will change. Finding experience in innocence and innocence in experience, we take lessons in living in the moment from Ryan McGinley, learn that success is a work ethic from Sir Paul Smith, and fully get our heads around the hype with Vetements designer, Demna Gvasalia, "the coolest man in Paris, non?" 

French cinema has always had the upper hand, but over the last few years, ambitious young actors and directors have created work with a sensibility that resonates all over the world. We watched Marine Vacth grow up, in tears, on screen, and watched new girl Karidja Touré fight dirty for her place in the banlieues, presenting that perspective-altering moment, where we realise just how good we had it. Finding the thing, whatever the thing is, that you identify with and meeting your people, is when the change comes. 

Willow wears jacket Gucci. Top House of Liza.

In an epic feature celebrating a genre held down for too long, we meet the pure poets of UK grime, who are well aware of the social power of their movement. As Novelist puts it, "What I do isn't about the music; it's about the connotation it has and how it impacts the teenagers." Is our generation wiser than the one before? We're certainly more accepting of each other's differences. From street cast kids with a world view far exceeding their young faces, to designers, actors, musicians and thinkers, we look at the shape of things to come. As you'll read over and over again in this issue, youth today don't care for age. The way Kane Horn, 18, from North London sees it: "Age is something used to categorise us. But to be honest, it doesn't mean shit. If you're good enough, you're old enough, in my opinion." 

What's my age again?

Sarah Raphael, Acting Editor

Credits


Photography Tyrone Lebon 
Styling Julia Sarr-Jamois
Hair Marcia Hamilton at Fr8me using Mizani
Make-up Steven Aturo at The Only Agency using Laura Mercier
Nail technician Marisa Carmichael at streeters
Photography assistance William Mathieu, Steven Gabriel
Styling assistance Bojana Kozarevic, Roberta Hollis, Sophia Phonsavahn, Victoria Zengo
Tailor Brian Frank
Production Rosco Production
Production Holly Gore at Dobedo Productions