GROUP INITIATIVE: Clothing and textile manufacturing organizations Sistema Moda Italia and Associazione Tessile Italiana said they are merging. The new entity has yet to be officially named, but will be operative as of Oct. 1. Paolo Zegna, president of Sistema Moda Italia, will head the new group, which comprises more than 1,800 member companies. Zegna and Tito Burgi, president of Associazione Tessile Italiana, said it is time for the small companies that dominate Italy’s manufacturing industry to work together in a tough environment characterized by the strong euro and the emergence of China. “Over the last 12 months, we have had to concentrate most of all on defending [ourselves]. Now we have to move on to programs, plans and projects on the attack front,” Zegna said in a statement.

LOGO’S LAUNCH: Logo TV, the first-ever 24-7 channel for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered viewers, will hit cable and satellite systems tonight at 9 p.m. EDT, with availability to 13 million households in 22 markets — three million more households than the original launch target of 10 million. An 11th-hour deal inked Wednesday with Direct TV accounted for the additional three million households and pushed the nascent network close to its first-year goal of viewer access in 14 million households, noted Logo spokesman David Bittler. Miller Lite will be the sole sponsor of Logo’s first program, “The Evolution Will Be Televised,” which will trace the emerging visibility of gay Americans through the lenses of civil rights, pop culture and individual achievements. Several other advertisers have signed on for spots on the LGBT network, including Showtime Networks, Tylenol PM, Motorola, the island of Key West, Lions Gate Films, Paramount, Subaru and Orbitz, said Bob Witeck, chief executive officer of Witeck-Combs Communications, which is leading Logo’s marketing efforts.

LAUREN’S OUTREACH: The Ralph Lauren Cancer Center in Harlem has been highlighted as a model facility in the Patient Navigator Outreach and Chronic Disease Prevention Act, which was signed into law by President George W. Bush on Wednesday. Lauren’s cancer center has effectively incorporated a Patient Navigator program into its healthcare service structure. The center stands as one of the nation’s foremost institutions servicing underprivileged Americans. The bill will provide $25 million in grants between fiscal year 2006 and fiscal year 2010 and will be administered by the Department of Health and Human Services.

This story first appeared in the June 30, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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