Marni’s ex-prisoner project

The following caught my eye:

‘Marni’s ex-prisoner project at Salone del Mobile 2012’ by Ani Tzenkova, via Trendland.

For Salone del Mobile 2012, Marni presents a collection of 100 chairs made in Colombia by ex-prisoners. This Marni venture aims to reinforce the prisoners resettlement into social and working life. All chairs consist of metal structure and multi-colored PVC threads featured on the backs and armrests. A common seat in Colombian local families, re-interpreted by Marni who modified the woven pattern and created new color variations.

The project reaffirms Marni’s involvement with charitable initiatives. The funds raised from the sale of the chairs will be donated to the institute ICAM of Milan – a project which allows children of imprisoned mothers to spend their youth in a family environment.
When big brands get involved with charities and social projects, the cynical gnome in my brain immediately thinks of 1% donations, PRs in power suits and tax dodging (though perhaps not for much longer!!!), and although this particular venture seems legit enough, I’m still a little sketchy about the deets.
Let’s do some Marni maths. Considering that Marni charges £470 for this fine pair of trews here:
How much do you think they’ll charge for any one of these?:
A grand maybe?
2 0r 3?
That’s a conservative estimate. If we’re being realistic they’ll be marketed as ‘Limited Edition Pieces of Fashion History’ and sold at a fancy fashion auction, so really the sky’s the limit.
While donating the profits from the sale of the chairs is obviously highly commendable, did anyone else notice that it benefits a Milan-based charity as opposed to a Colombian-based one? You know, where this shit is actually made. Don’t get me wrong, I’d much prefer the money went to any charity rather than into the pockets of a CEO with the balls to charge 470 quid for a pair of polyester (!) breaks, but why make a fuss about working with Colombian ex-prisoners using traditional Colombian designs to then divert the cash elsewhere (and frankly to a country whose need is less desperate)? Surely it makes more sense to use the money to help ex-prisoners and local craftspeople form a cooperative, or fund social outreach programmes, youth groups, crime awareness campaigns? Are they being paid a fair price for their work (especially considering how much it will sell for)? And how many people did it actually benefit if only 100 chairs were made? Colombia ain’t small…
What’s your take? PR ploy or paranoid gnome?
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