When Michael B. Jordan walked into the American Stock Exchange for Coach’s fall show Tuesday afternoon in a leather and shearling jacket from designer Stuart Vevers’ first show, heads turned and phones were pointed at the actor and businessman. In September, Coach named Jordan as its first face of the brand’s men’s business and part of the deal was that he would be able to create his own capsule collection and fragrance, both coming later this year.
After the show, Jordan took a few minutes to talk with WWD about his ambassadorship role at Coach, his latest projects with his newly launched production company, his quest to spread the inclusivity and diversity message, and his newfound willingness to take fashion risks.
WWD: Did you just come to New York today or have you been here a while?
Michael B. Jordan: I flew in last night. It was my birthday and we had a party on Saturday in L.A. so I just flew in for this.
WWD: You’ve gone to Coach shows in the past, but this is your first as the brand’s men’s wear ambassador. Does it feel different?
M.B.J.: It was a little different walking into a fashion show where you know you have more ties than just a guest — you’re part of the team, you’re part of the family. And everybody involved treats you that way.
WWD: How are you enjoying your partnership with Coach so far?
M.B.J.: I’m having a lot of fun, being able to help design my capsule and being able to be involved in that process and pull inspiration from things that I like and what I want to see in fashion. It’s been a great collaborative process working with Stuart and the entire team. It’s been great, working on a fragrance and the scents and smells and all the things I didn’t know went into actually creating a fragrance. So I’m getting an inside peek at fashion and fragrance in a short amount of time. I’m seeing how much planning and preparation they do for these shows, too.
WWD: Is that a Coach jacket you’re wearing?
M.B.J.: It is; it’s something I pulled out of the archives from Stuart’s first collection in 2015. But I won’t be able to wear this too much in L.A., that’s the problem.
WWD: When you wore the Louis Vuitton harness at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, that was quite risky. Do you enjoy pushing the envelope in fashion?
M.B.J.: For me, this is the first year that I’m making more bold fashion choices and taking more risks. We want to start a conversation and that comes with the success the last couple of years. I think I’ve always dressed well on carpets, but now, I’m not really playing it safe and I like starting a conversation: who did [like it], who didn’t. So I’m starting to get more into fashion and not take myself so seriously on the carpet. It’s a growing process.
WWD: What are you working on now?
M.B.J.: A lot. For me, getting the [production] company together, Outlier Society, and I just signed my overall film deal with Warner Brothers so I’m in the process of picking out office space on the Warner Brothers lot. And I signed my overall TV deal with Amazon. So just being able to create and develop a strong slate of television shows and film is something I’ve been focused on as of late. And I’m also ready to take a break from award season. We’re almost at the finish line, so once the Oscars are past, I can really focus on running a company along with Alana Mayo, who’s my head of development. It’s not making a transition, but stepping behind the camera a lot more has been a learning curve for me, and a new space. I can always come in and do a film, but taking the business of the entertainment industry to another level is something I’m spending a lot of time on now.
WWD: Do you like that part of the business?
M.B.J.: I love it. I love business and I love engineering things and putting things together and creating an ecosystem around me to tell stories from unique perspectives and able to offer opportunities to people who may not have gotten the chance before: men, women, people from the LGBTQ community. That’s something that I’m really focused on doing, and telling stories from all walks of life is part of the plan.
WWD: It’s admirable that someone of your stature is a champion for these issues.
M.B.J.: I want it to be natural, not forced. I feel like I’m not doing it for the wrong reasons, it’s coming from a real, honest place. It’s something I would have done anyway, but to be able to adopt an inclusion policy and adopt that with Warner Media and be part of that conversation is a very humbling experience and I want to be an advocate for change in all the right ways.