Ermenegildo Zegna Founder’s Scholarship Marks 10th Edition – WWD

MILAN – Zegna continues to take a longterm view.

The Ermenegildo Zegna Founder’s Scholarship is marking its 10th edition as the luxury menswear company renews its commitment to Italian graduate students for a further 15 years.

In 2014, the Ermenegildo Zegna Group earmarked 25 million euros to stimulate excellence in Italy.

The group pledged to provide 1 million euros each year for 25 years to enable talented Italian graduates to pursue postgraduate studies or conduct research outside of Italy.

The funds are granted on condition that those students return to Italy upon completion of their programs abroad. The aim is to prevent a “brain drain” that often affects Italy.

The scholarship is named after the founder of firm, who died in 1966 and who was known for his philanthropic activities and his innovative approach to business.

It pays tribute to Zegna’s ethical vision and concrete actions to improve the life of the community and to protect the environment in the Trivero, Italy area where the company is headquartered, at the center of the Oasi Zegna.

Chairman and CEO Gildo Zegna said the funding “is a project of social responsibility that is very dear to us because it is aimed at the new generations, bringing back talents into our country – hence looking at the future of Italy and of its industry.

“The Zegna Group, a union between industry, family and territory, must be for us a stimulus to carry forward and protect the values of Made in Italy. It is a challenge that must unite the Italian entrepreneurs of today and tomorrow,” he added.

The program enables students from more than 20 top Italian universities to study at leading centers of learning abroad, and aims to feed a virtuous circle of knowledge and skills that actively contribute to the development of the country once the scholars return home.

The executive has long said that the founder continues to inspire the Zegna family’s mission and actions towards social responsibility more than 100 years on.

In the first 10 years of the project, 425 scholarships were awarded. In the 2023-2024 edition, 71 students will go to universities including Harvard, Columbia and UCLA in the U.S.; Oxford, Cambridge and the London School of Economics in the U.K.; the College of Europe in Belgium; the Max Planck Institute in Germany; ETH in Switzerland; Adelaide University in Australia, and Keio University in Japan.

On the occasion of the 10th edition of the program, Fondazione Zegna held a gathering of more than 170 scholarship members at the Oasi Zegna, which included a visit to the wool mill founded in 1910 and the archives.

“Just as Ermenegildo Zegna placed his wool mill at the center of an ecosystem in which individuals, society and the environment were bound together in positive and sustainably reciprocal interdependence, we are now creating connections and dialogue and producing shared values at the local and international levels,” said Zegna.

The scholarship is in sync with Zegna’s efforts to deal in a positive way with the generational handover in several industries and to safeguard the manufacturing pipeline. Zegna has over the years built its own pipeline and textile supply chain, which includes Bonotto and Dondi. In addition, it has become an example of the increasing cooperative approach among Italian fashion entrepreneurs.

Zegna has twice made joint investments with Prada Group. Last month it purchased a minority stake in knitwear specialist Luigi Fedeli e Figlio Srl. In 2021, it acquired 40 percent of Filati Biagioli Modesto SpA, which specializes in the production of cashmere and other precious yarns.

While mindful of the past and its heritage, the group has been going through some major changes, buying a majority stake in Thom Browne in 2018; rebranding Zegna ahead of its initial public offer on the New York Stock Exchange in 2021; and shifting from a licensing deal to an exclusive supplier agreement of Tom Ford with The Estée Lauder Cos. following the beauty giant’s deal to buy the American brand in November. 

Zegna will produce and distribute all of Ford’s men’s and women’s fashion, accessories, underwear, fine jewelry, childrenswear, textile and home design products, as reported.

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