MILAN — The official launch of Gucci’s children’s wear line Thursday at the Pitti Bimbo trade fair in Florence coincided with a $1 million pledge from the luxury goods house to UNICEF’s Schools for Africa program.

This story first appeared in the June 25, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The new initiative, aimed at increasing access to quality basic education, further strengthens the long-standing partnership between Gucci and the humanitarian association. Their six-year collaboration has helped raise more than $8 million, primarily through the house’s holiday initiative when creative director Frida Giannini develops a special gift collection whose proceeds are partly devolved to the organization.

“I am especially proud of this collection for the new creative challenge and would like to use the opportunity of this launch to reinforce Gucci’s commitment to UNICEF,” said Giannini. “I visited Malawi last November and saw the difficult situation children face in sub-Saharan Africa, where every third child doesn’t get the chance to go to school. UNICEF’s Schools for Africa program is successfully giving more children access to a good education, providing a start in life that so many of us take for granted.”

Added Gucci’s chief executive officer, Patrizio di Marco: “Today, the world’s leading brands are rightly judged, not just on the quality of their products and services, but also on the way they responsibly act in the community and towards the environment.”

The children’s wear line is divided into two segments, from 0 to 24 months and from 2 to 8 years old, and includes apparel, footwear, scarves, ties, belts, jewelry and Safilo-manufactured sunglasses. Giannini worked the house’s iconic elements such as the horse bit, the red and green web ribbon, the double G and the Flora print. The collection will be available from November in Gucci stores, on and in select specialty and department stores.

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