Alessandro Michele Imagines Life as a Woman for Kering Campaign

How does it feel to walk in a woman’s shoes?

That’s the question posed in the sixth edition of Kering’s White Ribbon for Women campaign, which prompted some of the French group’s leading creative directors to imagine their lives as “her,” that is, the 1 in 3 girls and women estimated to have been victims of violence.

The ambassadors of the campaign are Alessandro Michele, Stella McCartney, Christopher Kane, Joseph Altuzarra, Dennis Chan of Chinese jeweler Qeelin and actress Salma Hayek Pinault, who is married to Kering chairman and CEO François-Henri Pinault and a member of the Kering Foundation’s board.

“Being born a girl should not equate to a higher risk of violence,” François-Henri Pinault said in a statement. “Yet unfortunately, it is the case in our world today. We all could have been born a girl, we all must take on this combat.”

Kering, whose brands include Gucci, Saint Laurent and Balenciaga, in 2012 launched its White Ribbon initiative as part of a commitment to tackle violence against women through the Kering Foundation, which funds projects and campaigns in Asia, Western Europe and the Americas.

This year’s campaign, aimed at millennials and Generation Y, will be centered around the hashtag #ICouldHaveBeen and a website, ICouldHaveBeen.org. It asks men to imagine who they might have become by entering a name their parents could have given them if they had been born female.

“#ICouldHaveBeen Camilla,” declares a poster featuring Michele. Altuzarra would have gone by the name Juliette — and Kane by Christine. Female participants are asked to show solidarity by taking on “Her” as their name and encouraging the men they know to join the campaign.

Participants receive information about the violence experienced by girls and invited to share this across social media platforms. Young male influencers from across the world will be featured in a series of short films that will call on youths to join the #ICouldHaveBeen movement.

Kering cited research from J. Walter Thompson Intelligence indicating that 89 percent of Gen Z survey participants believed boys and girls should have the same rights. Yet UNICEF data has shown 1 in 10 girls worldwide aged 15 to 19 have experienced forced sex over a 12-month period, according to Kering.

“The central objective of this year’s campaign is thus to engage younger generations, specifically Generation Z and Y, in order to provoke a deep and sustainable change in mentalities, behaviors and cultures,” Kering said.

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