HomeFashionOn Rare Disease Day, Boehringer Ingelheim, FIT partner to extend The Unwearable...

On Rare Disease Day, Boehringer Ingelheim, FIT partner to extend The Unwearable Collection


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Boehringer Ingelheim and the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) announced a partnership Tuesday morning to extend The Unwearable Collection illustrating the physical and emotional pains associated with generalized pustular psoriasis (GPP).

The pharma giant made the announcement on Rare Disease Day to highlight the effects of GPP, a rare, potentially life-threatening skin disease that is characterized by the presence of painful sterile pustules all over the body. In addition to flare ups, the disease can ultimately lead to serious complications like heart failure, renal failure and sepsis. 

The patient population that has GPP is small, ranging from 0.18 to 18 people per 100,000, though the disease is more frequently found in women than men.

To create The Unwearable Collection, Boehringer Ingelheim collaborated with fashion designer Bart Hess. For the four-piece art collection, Hess used raw materials like shards of glass, paper, knives and razor blades to offer audiences a chance to understand the pain caused by GPP.

FIT’s involvement comes through the participation of its students, who will be invited to create a fifth design which will become a permanent part of The Unwearable Collection. Hess will mentor the students through the process and the winner of this competition will be announced in late June, the company said. 

“Unless you or a loved one is living with GPP, it can be difficult to truly understand what a profound physical and emotional toll this disease can take,” said Claudia Beqaj, executive director of dermatology, sales and marketing at Boehringer Ingelheim, in a statement. “As we recognize Rare Disease Day, we are thrilled to announce this partnership with FIT and look forward to working with the talented team of faculty and students to elevate the profile of GPP through The Unwearable Collection and empower those affected by the disease.” 

The Unwearable Collection is another example of the growing intersection between pharma brands and the fashion industry.

At London Fashion Week earlier this month, Sanofi’s Buscopan brand unveiled its Fashion Cramps campaign to raise awareness of irritable bowel syndrome through the use of high fashion photography.

Months before that, Genentech staged Double Take, the first-ever fashion show for people with spinal muscular atrophy during New York Fashion Week

Boehringer Ingelheim also announced the FIT partnership days after the company was named one of the top pharma brands in Ogilvy Health’s recent social media report

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