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(established 1966)

By the early 21st century the Italian multinational company Benetton had become one of the largest retailers in the world with outlets in more than 120 countries. The company markets four different brand identities: United Colours of Benetton casual wear for the family; Sisley for older consumers; 012 baby and toddler clothing; and Playlife sportswear. Within a dozen years of its establishment this clothing manufacturing company, founded near Venice by Luciano Benetton, commenced its programme of international expansion. This was helped by the standardization of the company's retail outlets, which were designed in such a way as to show off Benetton products in an alluring manner. Benetton was quick to utilize computing systems in the automation of its operating processes, both in the manufacture of clothing and in the monitoring of stocks and sales. As such, the company was an early exponent of the Just in Time production and distribution system, a philosophy that a number of progressive manufacturer‐retailers adopted in the late 20th century. In northern Italy in the early 1990s Benetton built two new factories that utilized advanced computing technology in the linking of production controls with an efficient ordering and distribution system. Benetton became widely known for its dramatic, and often controversial, advertising campaigns directed by the fashion photographer Oliviero Toscani. These centred on themes such as ‘All the Colours of the World’ (1984), ‘United Colours of Benetton’ (1990), and ‘HIV Positive’ (1992). The company also captured tremendous publicity through its involvement in Formula 1 motor racing, televised throughout the world.

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.

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