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Benetton unveils new collection and £1.5m women empowerment project

Italian fashion brand United Colors of Benetton is celebrating its 50-year history with a new collection designed to underline its core principles and a project to support the empowerment of women across the globe.

Benetton

The company has announced a €2m (£1.5m) five-year commitment aimed at supporting sustainable livelihoods for women in the readymade garment manufacturing sector, in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.

Gianluca Pastore, worldwide communications director at Benetton, said: “We will identify partners to work with and most likely start our activities with a bottom-up approach in Asian countries, although we won’t be limited to countries where we have markets or manufacturing.”

He said the work will include training and education, health and safety such as access to transport home from work, as well as offering access to additional financial resources through credit to help improve the livelihoods of women working in the textile and garment supply chain.

The programme is underpinned by a new marketing campaign called A Collection of Us that features four models from different generations and backgrounds talking about their ideas around emancipation and empowerment.

John Mollanger, who became chief marketing and product officer at the company in January this year, called the campaign “a mature evolution of what we have done in the past”.

He said Benetton had moved on from “pointing the finger” in some of its “shock tactic” campaigns in the 1980s and 1990s to a more focused and deeper campaign that aims to actively contribute to and improve situations, such as the position of women around the world.

At the same time, the company has created four capsule collections based around its three founding principles of colour innovation, knitwear expertise and social commitment. Archive will drop in stores today (October 23), Nutcracker will launch in December, Carnival will launch in March and Sport in April.

Mollanger said Italy is the biggest market for Benetton, followed by India, Russia and Mexico. “Although we only have a small presence in the UK, it is more than just a market for us; we look at its role in the global economy.”

The company rolled out a new retail concept called On Canvas in April last year in Milan with moveable canvas walls where product can be arranged flexibly by colour, product or trend. Mollanger said that like-for-like sales had double-digit growth on last year for stores with the new format. He said that the UK is likely to be in the second phase for rollout.

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