June 17, 2014
Fashion brands are donating their merchandise for a cause at this year’s Convivio Milano trade show.
Convivio Milano, which ends June 17, sells the labels’ apparel at 50 percent off, with proceeds going to support Anlaids, an Italian organization dedicated to combatting HIV. By participating in this show, these brands have the opportunity to show their philanthropic side in good company.
"Selling luxury items at a discount is a tricky matter," said James Dean, vice president and head of the luxury practice at WealthEngine, Bethesda, MD. "Luxury brands are always in danger of diminishing their brand when they discount.
"I really think you do not need to discount luxury goods at a charitable event as people will be more willing to pay regular prices at an event like this than they would in stores," he said.
Mr. Dean is not affiliated with Convivio Milano but agreed to comment as an industry expert.
Convivio Milano did not respond by press deadline.
Convivio was founded in 1992 by fashion designer Gianni Versace, who convinced other labels to become involved, including Giorgio Armani, Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Prada, Missoni, Moschino, Fendi and Roberto Cavalli. The show has been held every two years since.
Convivio Milano 2014
The charity event has grown since its founding, from 22,000 visitors in 1992 to more than 50,000 in the last rendition in 2012. Volunteer numbers have also doubled from 400 to 800 over the last 20 years.
All of the brands that joined in the founding year have come back this year.
Missoni looked to get its followers out to support the cause with a post on its Missoni Moments blog. The label will have a booth selling archival pieces.
Missoni Convivio stand
Convivio Milano opened June 13 at FieraMilanocity, with daily hours from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The night before the opening a gala was held for designers to mingle with cultural and entertainment fixtures.
Moncler took the opportunity following the gala to share photos of its booth at the show on social media, visited by celebrities. Armani also shared photos of attendees that wore its garments to the gala on its blog A/Live.
Facebook post from Moncler
Anlaids combats AIDS through a variety of initiatives, including prevention and awareness, school outreach, research and helping in countries with limited resources.
Convivio is sponsored by the president of Italy, the city of Milan and the department of health for the Lombardy region, among others.
Fashion is an industry that feels strongly about the AIDS epidemic, and chooses charities to partner with to reflect its values.
Condé Nast imprints are joining the fight against mother-to-child HIV transmission through a partnership with charity Born Free Africa.
May issues of Condé Nast-owned publications, such as Architectural Digest and Vanity Fair, include Born Free Africa advertisements to spread awareness about the multi-faceted campaign. Condé Nast’s involvement with Born Free Africa includes sponsored events, subscription-based donations and providing exposure for the exclusive capsule collection available at online retailer Shopbop.
Donatella Versace, Diane von Furstenberg, Donna Karan and Miuccia Prada were among the designers that created items for the capsule collection (see story).
Also, during Architectural Digest’s Home Design Show, a number of brands took the opportunity to align themselves with a cause.
Barneys New York, Roche Bobois, Ralph Lauren Home, Diane von Furstenberg and Calvin Klein participated in Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS’ Dining By Design event, for which they each created a design installation. For these brands, this event balanced philanthropy with the opportunity to have an artistic display at a large home interior show (see story).
All of these initiatives provide an opportunity for the brands involved to reach their core consumers.
"Luxury brands over the last several years have really committed to various charity causes and events as they genuinely want to help others and at the same time positively enhance their image," Mr. Dean said.
"The same people that buy their luxury goods give to charity causes," he said. "It is yet another way to reach their customer in a positive way.
"The brands want to reach their customers and it’s their customers who will attend this event."
Sarah Jones, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York