ITALIAN CAUSE: The Guess Foundation, which launched in Los Angeles in 1994, is coming to Italy this year. The organization aims to capitalize on the brand power of Guess fashion to push for greater sensitivity to violence against women, which Paul Marciano — Guess chief executive and creative director and Guess Foundation president — called “a social plague that unfortunately remains widespread.”

“We feel a specific duty to call the media’s attention to this problem in Italy, as well,” he added. According to 2014 statistics from the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, 27 percent of Italian women have experienced physical or sexual violence, of which 19 percent is at the hands of a partner. The Guess Foundation is planning to mark Denim Day in Italy this spring, and to organize a series of special fundraisers in local Guess stores, with the first events tentatively slated for May or June. Popularized in the U.S., the Denim Day movement originated in Italy as a protest against a 1998 Italian Supreme Court ruling (since overturned) that an 18-year-old girl could not have been raped because she was wearing tight jeans, which were deemed too difficult for an assailant to remove without her assistance.

This story first appeared in the March 12, 2015 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

If its Italian initiatives go well, the Guess Foundation would like to extend its programs to other European countries, a spokeswoman for the organization said.

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