The Kering foundation

Instagram: @thekeringfoundation

Fashion stars have grouped together in support of the Kering foundation, a charity set up to increase awareness of gender based violence

Being born a female should not put you at a higher risk of gender based violence, but sadly that is not the case. With 1 in 3 women affected as victims worldwide, this is an issue that needs confronting immediately. As a response to this problem, for the five days leading up to the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (25 November 2017), the Kering Foundation have launched the digital #ICouldHaveBeen campaign. This is part of its annual contribution to the white ribbon initiative which involves promoting awareness of the problems surrounding violence towards women.

Highlighting this injustice seems particularly important recently, in the wake of the numerous sexual harassment cases seen in the news by once-celebrated men such as Harvey Weinstein and Ed Westwick. Also, with at least 1 in 4 teen girls in the UK being subject to physical abuse from their boyfriends, the digital aspect of #ICouldHaveBeen is hopeful to appeal to computer savvy teens in addition to the wider public.

The Kering Foundation was launched in 2009 and is part of a luxury group that has ownership of brands such as Gucci and Balenciaga.

The foundation fights for woman’s rights by promoting female empowerment and tackling violence against women, including sexual and domestic violence as well as harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation.

The #ICouldHaveBeen campaign has used a variety of well-known faces from the fashion world as ambassadors for to help spread their message, including Joseph Altuzarra, Stella McCartney, Alessandro Michele and Christopher Kane. The aim of the campaign is to bring the world’s attention to gender based violence by making people visualise what it’s like to be in ‘her’ position (the 33% of female victims) drawing attention to the increased risk women face, simply by being born female. This campaign is not only aimed at women, with men being asked to imagine how their lives would be different if they were born female.

Part of the campaign was that the ambassadors were asked to assume new names. The female ambassadors took the name ‘her’ to show solidarity with the victims whilst the men chose names that their parents might have given them, had they been born female. For example, for the campaign, Christopher Kane became Christine. As part of their contribution to the cause, the ambassadors were asked to share personal stories of their experiences relating to gender based violence, with the hope that the public would join in too using the hashtag #ICouldHaveBeen on social media platforms. Last year more than 1 billion social network users were reached through this campaign and there is hope that this year, even more people will be reached. For more information and to show your support, visit icouldhavebeen.org.

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