Benetton Uses City Data to Create Racially Diverse Models

Clothing company's campaign creates portraits of the world's fashion capitals

The demographic makeup of cities is in constant flux, with immigration and globalization transforming business and social life. Benetton’s new campaign, The Face of the City, represents this trend, blending the cultures and ethnicities of six fashion capitals to create virtual models.

By using international and city specific census data, Benetton and agencyAmsterdam 180 were able to determine the racial and cultural proportions of Milan, London, Tokyo, Paris, Berlin, and New York. After conducting research, models of representative races were photographed, and the images were compiled using an algorithm to create portraits that represented the blended demographics.

Fashions cities such as New York have been international magnets for their economic and creative opportunities, and history has painted a slightly different makeup for each. Milan’s international community is largely Filipino and Egyptian, New York’s is Hispanic and African American, and London’s is primarily Asian. The variety of each place can be seen in the models’ faces, yet each “combination” results in a shared beauty.

This type of “individualized connectedness” is an integral part of Benetton’s new Carnival Collection that’s set to debut in February. The line of apparel utilizes expertise in knitwear technology that integrates many shades of color into a single piece, and the ad campaign communicates this feature on a level greater than the company and its tools itself.

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