Earlier this year, Gucci came under fire for selling a sweater that social media users said resembled blackface because of its design. Discontinuing the item, the fashion label took steps to prevent future missteps like this from ever happening again by announcing its Gucci Changemakers Program, a global initiative and scholarship fund promoting diversity and inclusion throughout the company.
With an advisory board including Black thought-leaders like DeRay McKesson, Michaela Angela Davis, Bethann Hardison and Dapper Dan, Gucci Changemakers pledged to invest in community-based programs, particularly those helping communities of color. Today, Gucci is moving forward with this commitment by announcing that applications are now open for its North America Changemakers initiative, which includes a multi-year $1.5 million scholarship program and a $5 million Impact Fund for nonprofit organizations.
“To make meaningful change you have to put your money where your mouth is. ” – Satchel Lee
“I think we’re at a point in time when everyone is realizing that it’s not enough to talk about all the good we want to see in the world,” said DRØME Creative Director Satchel Lee. The filmmaker collaborated with the brand on a visual piece encouraging young people and non-profit organizations to apply. “To make meaningful change you have to put your money where your mouth is. People of color, immigrants, and members of the LGBTQ+ community have always been changemakers in fashion. It’s about time that big fashion houses fully acknowledge this.”
Over the next 4 years, Gucci will disperse $1.5M through two scholorship programs — Gucci Changemakers Scholars and Gucci Changemakers X CFDA Scholars by Design. Inviting all students planning to attend or currently enrolled in a four-year North American college or university to apply, special consideration is also offered to those located in the 12 Gucci Changemakers cities and HBCU students. “I’m so impressed by Gen-Z. Their boldness and ability to take initiative is really inspiring. I think it’s up to everyone to invest in the youth,” said Lee.
Scholarships will be awarded for the 2020-2021 academic year for up to $20,000 per student. Applications are due by 11:59 pm EST on December 31, 2019, and can be submitted online, here.