9 Iconic Brands That Support the Arts

These chic companies have proven their dedication to philanthropy.

Hermès: Fondation d'Enterprise Hermès

The Fondation d'Enterprise Hermès has started a variety of projects that help artists of all disciplines, including a program that embeds young visual artists in the venerable house's workshops, where they are given carte blanche to create original works of art using the materials and techniques for which the workshops are famous. Hermès also has six exhibition spaces worldwide for which they commission and curate shows that are free to the public.

Rolex: Mentor and Protégeé Arts Initiative

The watchmaker's Mentor and Protégeé Arts Initiative was founded in 2002 to bring gifted young artists from around the world together with artistic masters. The program pairs mentors and protégés in a variety of fields ranging from dance to literature and architecture, for a year of collaboration. Rolex's aim is to ensure that both a culture of diversity and artistic heritage are fostered in younger generations.

Prada: Fondazione Prada

The founders of the fashion company first established Fondazione Prada in 1993 with a selection of art exhibitions. Today, the foundation is housed in a sprawling new complex in Milan designed by Rem Koolhaas's architecture firm, OMA. The buildings house exhibition space for both the Fondazione Prada's permanent art collection, as well as for site-specific installations and exhibits commissioned from contemporary artists.

Ermenegildo Zegna: ZegnART Public

Zegna's ZegnART Public project supports contemporary artists in emerging countries. Every few years, the menswear company's foundation picks one country to focus on and carries out two meaningful initiatives. First, it commissions a public artwork from a mid-career artist from the chosen country that will be donated to the local community; then, it also funds a four-month residency at a cultural institution in Italy for a young artist from the same country.

Brunello Cucinelli: Brunello Cucuinelli Foundation


Through his namesake Brunello Cucinelli Foundation, the fashion designer has helped revitalize Solomeo, the Italian town in which his company is based. Through the craft school, library, and theater that the company founded in the town, the foundation provides access to arts and culture for the public. In these spaces, it also teaches and supports young artists and helps them to develop new ideas.

Max Mara: Giulia Maramotti Foundation

Max Mara's Giulia Maramotti Foundation (named after company founder Achille Maramotti's mother) holds a competition each year for students of Italian art schools, in which contestants submit clothing collections or patterns designed in response to a theme. Prizes for the young artists include scholarships, monetary awards to support their studies, and fully funded internships at Max Mara's offices.

Ferragamo: Fondazione Ferragamo

In 2012, Ferragamo helped fund a Leonardo da Vinci exhibit at the Louvre, including the restoration of the artist's famous painting, The Virgin and Child with Saint Ann. The fashion and accessories brand has continued to support young artists and designers through their Fondazione Ferragamo by pledging to donate the proceeds from the brand's own small museum in Florence toward studies and scholarship in the history of shoemaking.

Burberry: Acoustic Initiative

Burberry's Acoustic initiative celebrates and supports both upcoming and established British singers and songwriters. The company films and produces exclusive videos of the performers that are shared online and connects emerging artists with professional management and record labels. Some of the up-and-coming musicians featured in the program have even performed during Burberry's runway shows.

Moncler: Freeze for Frieze

Freeze for Frieze, inaugurated this year during London's Frieze Art Fair, is one of the programs the company has established to support the arts. Moncler asked famous designers, artists, and celebrities to donate postcard-sized works of art, which the brand sold during an event at their London store; the money raised by selling the 400 works helped fund scholarships to cover the full tuition of two students at London's Royal College of Art.


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* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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