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Follow a Giorgio Armani Model on a Transatlantic Journey of Philanthropic Proportions

If you’ve been following luxury fashion house, Giorgio Armani’s various campaigns of late, you might recognise a familiar face. Young model, Benjamin D. has jumped on board to promote the label’s sailing-themed Vela apparel line in addition to helming the latest eyewear range. As it turns out, however, Benjamin shares a much deeper connection with both of these collections than one might first suspect. Putting his sailing skills to the test, he’ll soon embark on an incredible adventure across the Atlantic to raise funds and awareness for Retinitis Pigmentosa, a degenerative eye condition from which he suffers.

Image: Horizon Foundation

Benjamin’s journey will make up part of The Horizon Foundation, a philanthropic endeavour and production unit spearheaded by the young model with the full support of Giorgio Armani. The foundation launched in January of this year with the goal of raising funds for medical research into Retinitis Pigmentosa. Benjamin was just 28 when he was diagnosed with the rare genetic condition, which affects approximately 1 out of every 4000 people and causes extreme photosensitivity, a weakening of night vision, and a loss of daytime vision. There currently exists no cure for this debilitating disease, hence the effort to raise funds for medical research.

Image: Horizon Foundation

They say the best adventures are the ones we share with friends and that’s certainly the case here. Joining Benjamin for his trip across the high seas is his new production team of four close mates from creative backgrounds. Elvira is a brilliant and eclectic young woman with a range of skill sets and passions for everything from architecture and interior design to the performing arts. Clement is a talented athlete, photographer, model, and agent, who expresses himself from multiple points of view. Borja is an experimental director of photography with a unique vision and boundless enthusiasm. Beltran—the youngest of the group—is a creative and gentle soul who captures the world around him through his vintage Bolex 16 mm camera.

Refusing to be limited by his condition, Benjamin has chosen to broaden his horizons instead. He and his talented travel companions will set off on their transatlantic adventure starting this December, capturing every vital moment through photography and video. The experience will unfold on Giorgio Armani’s social networks in a series of chapters—going from preparation to the journey itself—so that followers can likewise expand upon their respective horizons. Should one feel inspired to support the cause, 70% of their donation will go directly to the Institut de la Vision de Paris whilst 30% will go back to the foundation with the goal of enabling future projects.

More than a journey across the sea, this is the start of something beautiful. Whilst the Horizon Foundation (and #HorizonProject) was established to empower medical research related to Retinopathy Pigmentosa, it’s also turned Benjamin and his four friends into a production unit. With the full support of Giorgio Armani, they’re creating ad campaigns and audio-visual content for other brands and companies. Not only do these projects raise funds for an important cause, but they give Benjamin a chance to explore as much as he can before he loses his vision for good. We’ll definitely be rooting for him!

You can follow the Horizon Foundation and #HorizonProject through @HorizonFoundation for updates and audio-visual content. If and when you feel inspired to donate, you can do so through this website.

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STAFF WRITER

Jacob Osborn

Jacob Osborn is an accomplished author and journalist with over 10 years of experience in the media industry. Jacob holds a Bachelor's degree in English and Communication Arts from the University of Wisconsin--Madison and has previously written for Stacker alongside co-authoring a Young Adult novel through Simon & Schuster. Now based in Portland, Oregon, Jacob specialises in entertainment, technology and alcohol reporting. You might find him crate-digging at the nearest record store or sampling whisky at the nearest bar. He daydreams of travelling around the world, but for now, the world will have to come to him by way of lifestyle products, gear, gadgetry, and entertainment. Let's call it a happy compromise while he saves up for the next big trip.