United Colors of Benetton turns 50!


United Colors of Benetton turns 50!

Look back at the knitwear giant’s iconic history

By Nidhi Jacob  November 24th, 2015

When you think of vivid knits, thought-provoking campaigns and a happy line-up of culturally diverse models, no one comes to mind as much as Italian knitwear icon United Colors of Benetton. Feeling the need for more colour in people’s wardrobes, Luciano Benetton started UCB with three of his siblings in 1965. Homegrown (in Treviso) and homespun (by his sister and chief designer Giuliana), the small, family-run enterprise bloomed into the billion-dollar industry it is today. Along the way, they made rainbow-coloured knits an actual thing and changed fashion’s approach to advertising with controversial, but much-needed, opinionated messages. To celebrate its 50th anniversary, UCB has delved into their rich, vibrant archives to create a capsule collection inspired by five historic sweaters. Fuzzy yellow knits for winter? Yes, please.

Paint Box
The brand has been known to play with every hue in the colour spectrum, but it all started with a particular shade of yellow that was used for the first time in the ’60s. For years after, UCB was the only label to offer a kaleidoscopic gamut of colours — turquoise, mustard, pine — you name it, they had it.

Close Knit
The celebratory capsule collection will be reminiscent of their most special designs — a clean-cut and modernist piece from the ’60s that was inspired by the architect and designer of their first factory, Tobia Scarpa; a trompe-l’oeil tie-featuring pullover from the ’70s; an ’80s batwinged, diamond patterned sweater; a striped ode to the ’90s love for Brit Pop and a sporty, hooded version to sum up the current decade’s style. Five decades and five sweaters that defined them.

Talk The Talk
Creative collaborations with Italian photographer Oliviero Toscani that started in the ’80s sparked UCB’s trademark penchant for riveting communication. Racism, AIDS, politics, hunger, unemployment — issues that are usually swept under the rug were taken on squarely and often, controversially, by the brand. When they’re not tackling one particular social issue, they’re consistently promoting racial and cultural diversity through their casting. 

India Shining
Recognising the vastness and diversity of our country, UCB India has launched a customised collection this Fall/Winter 2015-16. The new line, helmed by creative director Meera Saxena and managing director Sanjeev Mohanty, features graphic bolts of colour in their trademark knits, plus urban basics like puffer jackets, denim and easy shifts tailored to suit the Indian customer.

Photographs: United Colors of Benetton

When you think of vivid knits, thought-provoking campaigns and a happy line-up of culturally diverse models, no one comes to mind as much as Italian knitwear icon United Colors of Benetton. Feeling the need for more colour in people’s wardrobes, Luciano Benetton started UCB with three of his siblings in 1965. Homegrown (in Treviso) and homespun (by his sister and chief designer Giuliana), the small, family-run enterprise bloomed into the billion-dollar industry it is today. Along the way, they made rainbow-coloured knits an actual thing and changed fashion’s approach to advertising with controversial, but much-needed, opinionated messages. To celebrate its 50th anniversary, UCB has delved into their rich, vibrant archives to create a capsule collection inspired by five historic sweaters. Fuzzy yellow knits for winter? Yes, please.

Paint Box
The brand has been known to play with every hue in the colour spectrum, but it all started with a particular shade of yellow that was used for the first time in the ’60s. For years after, UCB was the only label to offer a kaleidoscopic gamut of colours — turquoise, mustard, pine — you name it, they had it.

Close Knit
The celebratory capsule collection will be reminiscent of their most special designs — a clean-cut and modernist piece from the ’60s that was inspired by the architect and designer of their first factory, Tobia Scarpa; a trompe-l’oeil tie-featuring pullover from the ’70s; an ’80s batwinged, diamond patterned sweater; a striped ode to the ’90s love for Brit Pop and a sporty, hooded version to sum up the current decade’s style. Five decades and five sweaters that defined them.

Talk The Talk
Creative collaborations with Italian photographer Oliviero Toscani that started in the ’80s sparked UCB’s trademark penchant for riveting communication. Racism, AIDS, politics, hunger, unemployment — issues that are usually swept under the rug were taken on squarely and often, controversially, by the brand. When they’re not tackling one particular social issue, they’re consistently promoting racial and cultural diversity through their casting. 

India Shining
Recognising the vastness and diversity of our country, UCB India has launched a customised collection this Fall/Winter 2015-16. The new line, helmed by creative director Meera Saxena and managing director Sanjeev Mohanty, features graphic bolts of colour in their trademark knits, plus urban basics like puffer jackets, denim and easy shifts tailored to suit the Indian customer.

Photographs: United Colors of Benetton