Are luxury brands making strides in the right direction?
European fashion houses have been deemed tone-deaf for some of their insensitive and even racially bigoted collections: Prada for their blackface monkey collection of accessories, Gucci for their blackface turtleneck, Dolce & Gabbana for exploiting the Asian community, and Burberry with their sweatshirt that resembled a noose.
Although celebrities have called for boycotts, luxe design houses have now implemented diversity and inclusion initiatives in order to prevent these kinds of tactless issues from happening again.
Burberry started a diversity team, Prada even called on iconic movie director Ava Duvernay to lead their new Diversity and Inclusion council, and now Gucci, alongside Dapper Dan, is rolling out a long-term initiative to help minorities in urban communities.
Immediately following Gucci’s debacle, Dapper Dan, who is a collaborator with the brand, called out Gucci CEO Marco Bizzari, demanding a meeting with other notable Black industry influencers. Well, in lieu of the meeting, Dan and Gucci kept their promise and announced Gucci’s Changemakers initiative.
The Gucci Changemakers fund is a global program that will support diversity and inclusion amongst people in Black communities and the fashion industry. Releasing a statement saying, “The Gucci Changemakers fund will support social change by investing in community-based programs in cities across North America. This $5 million fund focuses on building strong connections and opportunities within the African-American community and communities of color at-large, while bringing positive change and inspiring solutions for a better future.”
In addition to the changemakers program, Gucci has also started a $1.5 million-dollar scholarship fund for students studying in various disciplines in fashion. They’ve said, “scholarships will be given to diverse talent from North America.”
Dapper Dan shared his excitement for the initiative on social media:
“As a partner, I am proud to work with Gucci and other community leaders to help guide programs that will create meaningful impact for the Black community and fashion as a whole. It is imperative that we have a seat at the table to say how we should be represented and reimagined. Through our work together, Gucci is in a position to lead the overall industry toward becoming a better more inclusive one.”
The iconic fashion house is truly making strides, enlisting notable fashion industry insiders and activists for their panel of changemakers council members. Fashion industry veteran Bethann Hardison, aocial activist, and writer Michaela Angela Davis, music entertainer Will.i.am, and, of course, Dapper Dan, are just a few of the members.
We're not sure if all is forgiven, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.
For more information regarding Gucci’s scholarship program, please email email@example.com.
(Photo: Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
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