Lady: Benetton – When Knit Meets Social Commitment

By Catarina Wilk

Although today’s world seems to be very advanced and forward-thinking in various different fields, there is a matter that still is very present and, unfortunately, does not match with the world’s overall progress. The omnipresent inequality that the majority of women experiences globally remains a serious matter of concern. As this month’s theme celebrates women in diverse arts and their rise as well as initiatives or campaigns that try to support them in their activities, let us maintain the common thread.

To start off, we go back to the year 1965 – the year of birth of the Italien fashion brand United Colors of Benetton – when the history of its iconic knitwear began. Five decades later, the Benetton Group has become an impressive and world-renowned empire which does not only astounds with beautifully designed knitwear, but is also very much concerned about economical, environmental as well as social matters.

In 2015, Benetton has set itself the task to set a sign to raise awareness for this specific topic in order to actively support women’s rights by establishing the Benetton Women Empowerment Program.
‘Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’ – Goal 5 United Nations
This goal is also the initiative’s main principle which shows that women’s support by counteracting the existing gender inequality is a matter close to the brand’s heart.
Future generations should experience a ‘sustainable livelihood, non discrimination and equal opportunities, access to quality education and healthcare’ and all forms of violence against women should end. ‘We are glad it’s a girl’. That’s how one could summarise all these aspects in a different way.

What is Benetton’s Women Empowerment Program all about? Basically, the long-term program invests 2 million euro in activities which aim to support women in the Ready Made Garments sector. By doing this, Benetton contributes to the establishment of a sustainable livelihood in this branch of industry.

As part of the WE Program, Benetton has launched their new Collection of Us, a cosmopolitan collection which combines the past, the present and the future and reflects the brand’s history and true DNA.
The four capsules will be released in October and December 2015 as well as in February and April 2016.





By having a closer look at the campaign’s advert itself, it is quite obvious that Benetton’s concept perfectly meets today’s zeitgeist. The whole industry undergoes a transformation… Revealing history with great attention to detail is unquestionably the new shocking!

Bildschirmfoto 2015-10-29 um 18.43.16

Of course, we all remember Oliviero Toscani’s advertising campaigns for Benetton that shocked the world in the 80s and 90s. The Italien photographer is well-known for his Benetton advertisement that played with controversies. At this stage, Benetton was clearly ahead of the times as it is now.

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A collage of Oliviero Toscani’s photographs for Benetton (pictures taken by Jo Philipps)

Nowadays, it seems that Benetton takes a different artistic path. A Collection Of Us is a homage to five generations of women. 50 years of iconicness, heritage and tradition combined in one campaign showing high-quality knitwear that truly reflects each generation’s characteristics in its different time era. By incorporating vintage graphics and designs, Benetton brings some of their original and iconic designs of the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s back to life in 2015. By doing this, the fashion brand draws a strong connection between the past, the present and the future generations.
‘Five generations of knitwear. Five generations of women. Five ordinary stories that convey the extraordinary power that every woman in the world has.’ – Benetton

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Knitwear in the making (picture taken by Jo Philipps)

A Collection Of Us collection (picture taken by Jo Philipps)

A Collection Of Us collection (picture taken by Jo Philipps)

A Collection Of Us collection (picture taken by Jo Philipps)

A Collection Of Us will be available in selected Benetton stores worldwide from 22 October 2015 until April 2016.

Women empowerment paired with utterly beautiful knitwear…what a great combination! Without any doubt, Benetton takes a huge step in the right direction and sets the ball rolling.

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