Giorgio Armani

CONSTANT HELP: Armani Group has further bolstered its love and support to Milan.

After taking over several billboards to acknowledge the city’s resilience throughout the pandemic and to express closeness to its citizens, the fashion house has teamed with its historic licensees L’Oréal Luxe, Luxottica and Fossil Group to raise funds in favor of the Community of Sant’Egidio. In particular, the donation will support the “Go Ahead” initiative lending assistance to people in need, whose conditions have been made more precarious by the health emergency.

The project will mainly focus on helping children and their families offering support in rent payments and initiatives in the education and job fields. These include a daily service to take children living in peripheral areas to school as well as scholarships and incentives for different degrees of education.

“As a citizen and member of the community, I feel the responsibility of committing actively. We can’t ignore the climate of poverty that is advancing and is worrying,” said Giorgio Armani.

The designer explained he decided to support the “Go Ahead” project because “helping the children and families who have been most affected by the effects of the pandemic must start from the fundamental rights to housing and study, without which there is no future.”

“It’s time to rediscover an authentic sense of community, to be close to fragile people and to look at poverty with real helpfulness. In this sense, the activity of the Community [of Sant’Egidio] and its affiliates is commendable, because it is concrete. Also thanks to this project, Milan can be an example: a leading city not only for the economy but also for solidarity,” said Armani.

Founded in 1968 under the leadership of Andrea Riccardi, the Community of Sant’Egidio is now a network of associations dedicated to social service encompassing 70 countries.

While he has kept many of his philanthropic activities on the quiet side for years, in 2020 Armani was particularly vocal about the importance of helping out given the complexities and uncertainties of the year. He proved his commitment both with words and deeds, through several initiatives and supporting nonprofit organizations in the fight against the pandemic and poverty, as well as those focused on environmental protection.

The billboards unveiled last month reported his direct quote “I’m [here] for Milan, with the Milanese, with sentiment” in capital letters and his signature. The simple yet significant message appeared on his historic mural on Milan’s Via Broletto; digital billboards on central Corso Garibaldi and San Babila square; around 300 of the city’s public transport stops and loading platforms and as ads in Italy’s key dailies. It was also well-received by citizens, who lauded the initiative on social media.

In May, as the first lockdown was lifted by the government, Armani dedicated the Via Broletto mural to the image of a doctor with wings holding Italy in her arms, which has come to symbolize the fight against the coronavirus.

Before that, during the first wave of the coronavirus, the designer also took out a full-page ad in more than 60 newspapers in Italy, writing a letter to all health-care providers working amidst the coronavirus outbreak.

At the time, Armani also donated 1.25 million euros to Italy’s Civil Protection and a range of Italian hospitals and institutions in the country, including the Luigi Sacco, San Raffaele and the Istituto dei Tumori in Milan and Rome’s Istituto Lazzaro Spallanzani. He contributed to the Bergamo and Piacenza hospitals, both badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the Versilia hospital in Tuscany, for a total of 2 million euros in donations.

He additionally converted his four Italian production sites to manufacture single-use medical overalls for the protection of health-care providers working amid COVID-19.