Luxury Fashion Brand Gucci has backed up its call for diversity with some big bucks.
The Italian brand that made headlines for an inappropriate turtleneck that resembled blackface earlier this year, is now trying to make good with minority communities with a new program dubbed ‘Changemakers.’ According to Essence Magazine, “Initially Changemakers was a global employee-volunteering initiative that worked in conjunction with Gucci’s commitment to social impact in our communities and within the fashion industry — and now it has expanded to include the fund and scholarship.”
The new initiative is set to reach out to the African American community which is often ostracized from the fashion world. With the help of famed fashion Harlem-based designer Dapper Dan, the program is set to change lives providing experience, exposure, and education to many. Harper’s Bazaar reports, “The program includes three separate tiers: the Gucci Changemakers Fund, a scholarship program, and a company-wide volunteering initiative. All three programs are meant to foster racial diversity in both the company and the fashion industry as a whole.”
Gucci has invested heavily on the new program with a multi-year $5M fund being created as well as a $1.5M scholarship fund. The 4-year scholarship program is set to award bursaries to students in need of tuition fees to the tune of $20,000. The scholarship program is set to gain leadership from various influential African American public figures, including singer Will.i.am, activist Angela Davis as well as Eric Avila, Professor of History and Chicano Studies among many others. The Changemakers Council will help select eligible students from schools across North America to participate in the Gucci Changemakers Scholarship Fund.
Gucci’s CEO & President Marco Bizzarri had lots to say about the new initiative. In a press release, Bizzari said, “I believe in the promise of the next generation, and through our scholarship fund we will also create more opportunities for talented young people of diverse backgrounds to gain access to careers in the fashion industry.”
The Changemakers scholarship is now open to applications.