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What Makes a Man? Humanity.

Luxury menswear brand Zegna is breaking down masculinity misconceptions

“Triumph and failure are two sides of the same coin,” says German professional tennis player Alexander Zverev, when asked about what makes a man. “As a champion, it is how I triumph or fail that defines me…this is what makes a man today.”

It’s a refreshing attitude from a 22-year-old who plays a game which defines success almost solely in the context of winning – and with a strong focus on male players. Professional tennis has come under criticism in recent years as a sport where many major tournaments still have a large gender pay gap in prize money, despite vocal calls for pay equality.

Zverev was speaking in his role as ambassador for Ermenegildo Zegna, the luxury menswear group, which just launched a philanthropic campaign in conjunction with Cesvi, one of the largest and most prominent humanitarian organizations in Italy which helps more than 1 million people around the world each year.

The partnership, called From A to Zegna, aims to challenge traditional notions of ‘manliness’ in several countries in partnership with Cesvi’s Houses of Smiles project.

As part of From A to Zegna, the brand recently launched a campaign titled What Does It Mean To Be A Man Today? with a #WHATMAKESAMAN branded t-shirt, now sold in all Zegna boutiques. Proceeds from the t-shirt sales will go to further Cesvi’s mission of protecting and educating vulnerable children, something that aligns with the humanitarian underpinnings of Zegna’s global vision.

The wider aim of the campaign is to build a better, more human definition of masculinity through education. This partnership will provide a number of educational programs and peer-to-peer workshops in countries including Italy, Perú and South Africa. The aim, says Zegna, is to encourage younger generations to be thoughtful about their interpretation of masculinity in today’s society and nurture a feeling of greater humanity.

The partnership is supported by the Fondazione Zegna, Zegna’s philanthropic arm, now in its twentieth year of operation. The Foundation embodies founder Ermenegildo Zegna’s vision, working locally and internationally on four main areas, conservation and enhancement of environmental resources, sustainable development of local communities, culture and education and health and wellness.

The Foundation’s work includes the Founder’s Scholarship that, since its launch in 2014, has fostered talented Italian graduates to pursue postgraduate studies abroad, after which time they return to Italy with an aim towards actively participating in the country’s development. One hundred and ten years since it was founded in Trivero, Italy, the company continues to be family-run and is now led by the third generation: Gildo as CEO, Paolo as Chairman, and Anna as President of Fondazione Zegna.