Gucci Reveals Their 2020 Class for Their North America Changemakers Program
It was only last year that the Italian fashion house received racial backlash on social media over their black “balaclava jumper” that featured in their AW18 collection.
The jumper covered half the face and featured a red cut out around the mouth, which people called out for being an offensive design. Of course, Gucci didn’t let the matter slide and spoke out saying they would turn the incident “into a powerful learning moment for the Gucci team” and would commit to increasing diversity. And they have done just that.
Over the last six months, community leaders and social change experts have worked with Gucci to select the 20 winners in their Gucci North America Changemakers Scholarship as part of their Equilibrium platform.
The chosen scholars are a group of diverse 20 high school and college students who are perusing various careers in the fashion industry and are leading the way to help make a more diverse and inclusive future. To qualify for the scholarship, the students had to live in one of 12 North American cities and be attending, or planning to attend, a Historically Black College or University (aka, HBCU).
And what’s the grand prize? Each student will receive a scholarship of up to $20,000, a mentor and a virtual internship with Gucci America. Jealous much?
Antoine Phillips, Vice President of Brand & Culture Engagement at Gucci made a statement saying: “As education is vital to implementing real change and ensuring diverse voices are in positions of power, it is more important than ever to foster the next generation of talent.”
And it gets better. As part of the Gucci North America Changemakers x CFDA Scholars by Design program, two graduating high school seniors were awarded $20,000 per year for four years, who both plan to study fashion at university or college.
He also said: “I loved learning about each inspiring applicant along with our Changemakers Council and we are excited to see what they do next and how they help transform the fashion industry. I am proud to be part of a company that empowers this inaugural class of visionary Changemakers.”
But that is not where Gucci’s generosity ends. It’s just the beginning. Over the next four years, Gucci plan to invest a major $1.5 million into a new generation of designers who come from diverse backgrounds to help them learn the skills and gain the hands-on experience they will need to thrive in the dynamic and forever evolving fashion industry.
So, congrats to the class of 2020! If one thing's for sure, there are some exciting things to come with this upcoming generation. And we just cannot wait!
Wanna get stuck in too? You can apply here for next year’s class in Autumn 202o.
Words by Clare Stephenson
Cover by Katie Janes