Gucci is the latest fashion powerhouse to announce that they will be taking the proper steps necessary to ensure inclusivity and promote diversity. This comes after Gucci released a turtleneck sweater that notably resembled blackface, which sparked an outrage across social media causing several people, including celebrities, to boycott the high fashion luxury brand.
According to Complex, after issuing an apology for the racially insensitive imagery, Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri pledged to institute long-term initiatives that would embed cultural awareness within the company. The Gucci Changemakers Program, spearheaded by Dapper Dan, will include a scholarship fund, community and global exchange programs, and onboarding directors tasked with promoting diversity.
Dapper Dan took to social media on Sunday (March 17) to announce that he met with Bizzarri and has “seen real action towards the solutions” and wanted to share them with us.
“After meeting with some of the industry’s leading Black minds and others in fashion, business, and culture, we’ve helped Gucci come up with programs that will positively impact the Black community and fashion as a whole,” he said. “Black designers and fashion professionals will be given new opportunities through these new initiatives. It’s imperative that we have opportunities to learn on a world-class level, and also have a seat at the table to say how we should be represented.”
The first component is the Gucci Changemakers Fund, which is a $5 million fund that will invest in community-based programs, particularly those helping communities of color, in cities across the U.S. The programs will be selected by the Changemakers Council, a board of advisors including Dapper Dan, Bethann Hardison, Cleo Wade, Will.i.am, and more.
The second component is a scholarship program helping a more diverse talent pool of students pursue careers in fashion. Each student selected will receive a $20,000 grant toward their education over the course of four years.
The third component is a volunteer initiative that will allow Gucci’s 18,000 employees across the globe to take up to four paid days off to participate in volunteer work that addresses issues including equality, support for refugees and the homeless, protection of the environment and education.