Violence against women is a difficult topic to discuss, there is no doubt about that. But Kering—the luxury conglomerate that owns high fashion maisons such as Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, Gucci, Alexander McQueen, and Bottega Veneta—has taken the lead among luxury brands in starting the conversation. Its philanthropic arm, Kering Foundation, has done so since the last decade. This takes the group apart from other labels that are finding themselves involved in the different social issues for the sake for marketing and elevation of the brand.
The milestone is celebrated by the foundation by having its luxury brands commit 10% of select products to the causes the organization supports, running from November 16 to 30. Among the garments and accessories included are certain bags from Gucci, Balenciaga, and Bottega Veneta, and hoodies and shirts from Saint Laurent. There was also a formal event attended by Kering executives, partners, the press, and beneficiaries of the foundation’s many programs. Highlights of its decade-long existence have been revisited and recipients have shared stories of their struggles and work with Kering.
The foundation’s 10th anniversary blends well in the current social climate in which the #MeToo movement has gained traction. The enterprise was ahead of the dialogue when it was founded in 2008, with Kering CEO François-Henri Pinault and his wife, actress Salma Hayek, spearheading the initiative. It had its start when Pinault became aware of the global numbers on violence against women, the scope of which is daunting because of the various offenses that fall under the category. Since then, Kering Foundation has launched successful campaigns as part of its White Ribbon For Women project.
White Ribbon For Women was established in 2012, generally targeting not only Kering employees but also the public in raising awareness on violence against women. Every year since its founding, it has launched a theme tackling an issue concerning women. The movements gained the support of key personalities in the industry as well as celebrities in the likes of Liv Tyler and Adele. The year 2017 saw Alessandro Michele, Stella McCartney and Christopher Kane being the faces for the #ICouldHaveBeen campaign, which aimed to destigmatize speaking up on violence.
For this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Kering chose to focus on gender-based cyberbullying. There are drawbacks in a world that increasingly becomes connected through the Internet, among them the increased likelihood of harassment made online. According to UN-released statistics, women are more likely to be victims of cyberbullying, with the percentage reaching as high as 73 percent worldwide. The current generation who grew up with the technology are especially vulnerable to cyber violence, which covers name-calling, stalking, dissemination of personal and sensitive data, and hacking, among others. Kering Foundation has taken up brands and social media influencers to spread the message of the campaign and enlighten people on the trauma caused by cyberbullying with the hashtag #IDontSpeakHater. Humanitarian work was also among the projects of this year.
Moving forward, the foundation still wishes to persist in its efforts, and educate men on their role on putting a stop to violence against women. This begins with redefining masculinity and identifying the toxic behaviors that come with a dated perception on the concept. Pinault has also pledged 2 million euros for the foundation in 2019. Of the project, Céline Bonnaire, managing director of the foundation, has said, “The past 10 years have been an amazing journey with inspiring partners. I hope we continue to build on what we have achieved, connecting with more funders to support this combat on violence against women.”
Image credits: Kering Foundation, Olivier Borde, Getty Images, Taylor Hill