American Marketer


Frette raises the bar for corporate social responsibility

September 28, 2011

Frette's curated window display


Italian linen and homegoods brand Frette has been upping the ante for corporate social responsibility efforts this month with its second in-store fundraising campaign for September.

Frette’s newest flagship on Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles is hosting a weeklong fundraiser Sept. 27-Oct 4 with proceeds benefitting the Children’s Institute. Frette has teamed up with interior designer Suzanne Rheinstein on a specially-curated window display to drive consumers in-store during the fundraising campaign.

“I think that in the past few years there has been greater philanthropic work by affluent consumers, particularly through the recession where they were being scrutinized for every investment, business or otherwise,” said David Langton, global marketing manager at ICLP Loyalty, London.

“Selecting a luxury brand that has a good corporate social responsibility policy that is in keeping with the consumer’s own personal charitable or green viewpoint is something that affluent consumers do consider,” he said.

Mr. Langton is not affiliated with Frette, but agreed to comment as a third-party expert.

Frette was unable to respond by press deadline.

The Children’s Institute is a national organization that works to prevent child abuse as well as treat children who have experienced domestic violence.

Narrow window

Frette’s Rodeo Drive flagship, which opened earlier this past summer, will be donating 15 percent of all in-store proceeds Sept. 27-Oct. 4 to the Children’s Institute.

The weeklong campaign kicked-off with a special cocktails and shopping event last night.

In addition, Frette has partnered with Ms. Rheinstein to create a special window display aiming to drive consumers in-store.

Suzanne Rheinstein's window for Frette Rodeo Drive

Ms. Rheinsten’s interior design work has been featured in luxury magazines such as Hearst’s Town&Country and Veranda, as well as Condé Nast’s Architectural Digest and W.

The curated window display will remain up for the entirety of the fundraising campaign.

Frette recently conducted a similar campaign in its New York flagship to benefit children in war-torn countries.

As part of its Fashion’s Night Out activities, the brand partnered with the Same Sky organization to sell products produced by Rwandan artisans (see story).

In addition, Frette donated one foam mattress to a child in Rwanda for every set of sheets that was sold in its New York store.


Many luxury brands have been looking to emphasize their corporate social responsibility in the last few months.

For example, Kiehl’s collaborated with amfAR this summer to raise $100,000 for HIV/AIDS research to host a 10-day event during which employees biked along the U.S. East Coast to educate and inform consumers (see story).

In addition, BMW is informing consumers and encouraging discussions around sustainability with its traveling Guggenheim Lab (see story).

Indeed, some experts believe that luxury brands in particular have been upping their social responsibility efforts to entice affluent consumers to self-indulge despite the current economy (see story).

This may be a reflection of the unstable economy, as even those affluent consumers who could still afford to buy luxury goods and services were actually embarrassed to do so.

Additionally, it has long been acknowledged that philanthropy is a passion of the wealthy, and luxury consumers have noticeably been involved in charitable foundations.

Therefore, it only makes sense for luxury brands to try to mirror the interests and lifestyle of their customers and correctly align themselves with organizations in which their target audience is involved.

“The key here is to understand what a luxury brand’s affluent audience wants from a corporate social reasonability perspective, whether it is carbon offsetting or charity giving or perhaps sponsorship of specific worthy causes,” Mr. Langton said.

“Most global brands now have some form of a corporate social responsibility strategy and they use this successfully for public relations and in customer communications,” he said.

“Including such causes in a customer relationship program can help luxury brands engage with their audiences in a different, more humanized way.”

Final Take
Kayla Hutzler, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York