With an eye on the increasing altruistic enthusiasm of consumers, a few high-end retailers have developed some laudatory products
For the better part of the last century, a Meisterstück pen, much like a Swiss timepiece or a Savile Row suit, has been synonymous with success. In 2004, however, Montblanc launched its UNICEF-themed pen with a gold inlay in the shape of an olive branch and a blue sapphire in the cap, a stylish must-have that also became a fitting symbol of doing good (the company donated a portion of the proceeds to help children without proper access to education).
While that tradition continues today, Montblanc is far from alone: other luxury purveyors are also offering limited- edition products that benefit those in need. Cartier, for example, has released a redesigned version of its classic Love bracelet, with proceeds from the month-long sale each year going to various charities – Action Against Hunger in 2009.
To mark its 125th anniversary, Bulgari has unveiled a specially made silver ring plus a collection of 15 jewellery pieces and eight watches to be auctioned in December with an ambitious goal of €10m for the Save the Children foundation.
Italian leathermaker Valextra, like its benevolent compatriot, has also launched a new feel-good accessory, a Margherita Missoni-designed passport holder which benefits the Ghana-based NGO OrphanAid Africa. Even cult label Hogan is getting in the act, hosting a series of events in its European boutiques each spring to benefit Best Buddies, an organisation that helps the developmentally disabled. It all goes to show that good karma and couture can go hand-in-glove.
September 2009, Centurion