Eleven young designers, the new generation of international fashion, joined together to create an exclusive collection of tops and t-shirts for Italian fashion retailer OVS as their personal contribution to the response to AIDS. This initiative is part of the Make Love With campaign, launched by OVS in partnership with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
The campaign aims to raise both funds and awareness towards the UNAIDS vision of "zero new infections, zero discrimination, zero AIDS-related deaths". The money that is raised will support the work of UNAIDS in improving HIV treatment and prevention, as well as eliminating stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV.
"It seemed fitting for a company like OVS, which primarily targets and engages with young people, to commit to this issue," said Stefano Beraldo, CEO of Gruppo Coin, which owns OVS. "We were keen to launch and develop this campaign in collaboration with an international partner like UNAIDS, to work both within and outside the country borders, especially in light of our international expansion."
The group of young designers include: Lavinia Biagiotti, Rachele Cavalli, Louis Marie de Castelbajac, Maria Sole Ferragamo, Marta Ferri, Alessandra Gucci, Alice Lemoine, Talitha Puri Negri, Lola Toscani, Rocco Toscani and Francesca Versace. Rocco Toscani, son of famous photographer Oliviero Toscani, also took the official campaign shots, featuring the young designers each wearing their own creation.
Young people aged 15-24 are the group most affected by HIV, accounting for 40% of all new adult HIV infections. In 2011, about 5 million young people were living with HIV worldwide, with more than 2 400 being newly infected every day. According to the most recent population-based surveys in low- and middle-income countries, only 24% of young women and 36% of young men have an adequate knowledge of HIV prevention and transmission. Addressing the needs of young people and keeping them educated and informed encourages them to make responsible choices and drastically decreases their risk of being exposed to HIV.
"This partnership with OVS presents an exciting opportunity to reach young people with HIV prevention messages," said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. "Young people are leading the HIV prevention revolution around the world. Through our joint campaign, we will harness the energy and creativity of youth and the fashion world in support of the global HIV response."
In recent years, UNAIDS has supported a number of other youth initiatives, including CrowdOutAIDS, an online collaborative policy project which leveraged social media and online collaboration tools to develop the first ever crowdsourced strategy document in the history of the United Nations. Over 5,000 young activists from 79 countries participated in the initiative.
The collection will be launched officially in the newly-renovated OVS store in Milan on November 27th. It will be available to the public worldwide on World AIDS Day (December 1st) in stores and online at www.ovs.it /makelovewith. Special events will be also organized in OVS stores in Russia, India and China.