In February, Gucci came under fire for a black polo neck sweater that was said to resemble blackface. The neck of the top featured what looked like a large red-lipped cutout that sat over the wearer’s mouth, leading to instant denunciations for racist imagery.
Now, after issuing an apology, the luxury brand is launching a diversity-focused campaign called Gucci Changemakers, and it’s being backed by Harlem legend Dapper Dan, who was among those criticizing the brand, one he had worked with.
On Instagram, Gucci explained that Changemakers will see the house funneling $5 million into a “Changemakers Fund” and $1.5 million into a scholarship program in North America. Elsewhere, Changemakers will feature “a global employee-volunteering framework” in which all 18,000 Gucci employees will be encouraged to take four days paid leave to volunteer in their local communities.
The moves are made with diversity and inclusion in mind, with the aim of “creating lasting social impact in our communities and within the fashion industry.”
The Changemakers Council will select nonprofits to work alongside to help drive social change, and is built from members such as Dapper Dan, who noted on Instagram that it will “create meaningful impact for the Black community and fashion as a whole.”
Dan continued, “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.”