All the colours of the world.

The 80s may have been known for a lot of things, but social awareness wasn’t really one of them. From the government’s ignorance of (and apathy toward) HIV/AIDS to the blatant disregard for homelessness and poverty in the decade of excess, there wasn’t much to be proud of.

In fact, if it weren’t for the art of Keith Haring (who we ♥) and Bob Geldof’s whole Live Aid/Band Aid thing (which spawned USA for Africa and Artists United Against Apartheid), the 80s may well have come and gone without much social awareness at all. (Yes, we ♥ Live Aid and we also ♥ “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”)

(Are we buggin’ ya? We don’t mean to bug ya.)

But then came Benetton.

Known in the early 80s primarily for higher-end fashion featuring bright colors and big, bold patterns, the Italian company (born in 1965) stepped up to the plate and tackled all kinds of issues, from racial discrimination to multi-cultural awareness and appreciation…while saying barely a few words.

Out of nowhere Benetton’s “United Colors” campaign exploded onto not only the fashion scene but the world as a whole. Ads featuring black and white kids smiling together, or Asians, Latinos, and Eskimos hugging each other, started turning heads…and yes, elevating Benetton’s brand and profits along the way.

The company had only recently broken into the US market (opening its first New York store on Madison Avenue in 1980), but suddenly we couldn’t go anywhere without seeing the billboards and the TV ads, or noticing the hordes donning duds with the the slick-lookin’ stitch logo everywhere we went.

In the fall of 2015 the last remaining Benetton store in the U.S. shut its doors, but we’ll always fondly remember the company that not only awakened our fashion sense but also opened our eyes.

We ♥ (the United Colors of) Benetton.


~ by weheart80s on May 17, 2017.

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