Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

Think Benetton and you might think about Barack Obama snogging Hu Jintao, or a new born baby covered in white suff with umbilical cord still attached or even heart organ specimens. The Italian brand is best known for its provocative, campaign based advertising which tends to cause great debate/ shock/ consternation (delete as appropriate). In a new set of images just released, the effect is far more celebratory as the likes of Alek Wek, Charlotte Free and Hanaa Ben Abdesslem represent not only their quite fabulous individual style but also their unique achievements- Wek has campaigned to bring attention to the plight of her homeland Sudan while Abdesslem has made a stand against common perceptions that you cannot be a Muslim and a model, particularly in her native Tunisia. Then there's transgender supermodel Lea T and my new beard crush, Matias Perdomo, a Uraguyan chef who has been making waves on the Milanese restaurant scene with his menu at Al Pont de Ferr

Colour is the campaign's theme, with the stars layered up in a rainbow effect variety of Benetton knitwear. Alessandro Benetton, the brand's Chairman, points to "the iconic value of colour" and how it is a perfect tool for showing "diversity as  a value", a concept which is evident in everything Benetton does. That includes, of course, the UnHate foundation which is the charitable arm of those values and "seeks to contribute to the creation of a new culture against hate". You'll be able to get t-shirts emblazoned with campaign pictures, the  proceeds from which will be going to the foundation. If that doesn't make you feel a bit brighter on a dismal January day, who knows what will....

Alek Wek for Benetton

Charlotte Free for Benetton

Elettra Wiedeman for Benetton

Hanaa Ben Abdesslem for Benetton

Lea T for Benetton

Matias Perdomo for Benetton


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