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Brief Published: 8 Mar 2018

Gucci & Balenciaga: Brands Make a Stand

Gucci Pre-Fall 18 – #GucciDansLesRues

As the fashion industry’s month long schedule of womenswear shows draw to a close, Gucci and Balenciaga – named the hottest brands of 2017  – are embracing political initiatives and social movements – building on their lucrative brand hype, while ensuring a lasting impact after the season ends.

Italian mega-brand Gucci has joined the anti-gun movement, donating $500,000 to March For Our Lives – the student-led protest organised by the friends, families and survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting on February 14. The brand is keen to support the cause using more than just capital, with its politically minded millennial fan-base increasingly demanding authentic showcases of activism and political engagement.

‘‘I am truly moved by the courage of these students,’’ said Gucci creative director Allessandro Michele of his position to join the march. ‘‘My love is with them and it will be next to them on March 24. I am standing with March for Our Lives and the strong young women and men across the United States.’’

Luxury French fashion house Balenciaga has similarly intertwined social change with its brand DNA of late – unveiling a collaboration with the World Food Programme at its A/W 18/19 show. The brand has announced an ongoing collaboration with the charity, including a $250,000 donation and a percentage of sales from the Balenciaga x WFP collection.

Shrewd brands would do well to outwardly embrace their core values. Against a volatile political climate and the rising spending power of millennials – neutrality may prove a riskier strategy.

For more on how brands can avoid ambivalence in tense political times see Brands Take a Stand.