You can talk about it, or you can be about it. While Gucci may have made a major misstep or two this year, the label has also made major progress on their expressed desire to be leaders in diversifying the fashion industry. Aside from making some significant hires, they’re also hoping to equip a more diverse talent pool with the tools and access needed to be competitive and competent, as well as “creating lasting social impact in diverse communities and within the fashion industry,” according to a statement sent to The Glow Up.
Launched earlier this year, the Gucci North America Changemakers initiative is now accepting applications for its multi-year, $1.5 million scholarship program and $5 million Impact Fund for nonprofits. Teaming up with filmmaker and DRØME Creative Director Satchel Lee (coincidentally, daughter of Spike), young community changemakers and poet and Changemakers Council Co-Chair Cleo Wade, who provides narration, the label produced a short film announcing the opening of the application process, which began on Monday and runs through Dec. 31.
“Change does not happen in theory, it happens in community,” says Wade in a statement. “We are bringing the Gucci Changemakers initiative to life by bringing not only funds, but also time, energy, and care to communities that have been historically and systemically under-resourced and overlooked for too long.”
Specifically, the funds will be allocated based on the following criteria:
Gucci will distribute $1.5M over four years across two scholars programs — Gucci Changemakers Scholars and Gucci Changemakers X CFDA Scholars by Design—to ensure a new era of diverse and exceptional young people will gain opportunities and experiences across the fashion industry. All eligible students who are planning to attend or are currently enrolled in a four-year college or university in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree within North America are welcome to apply. Special consideration will be given to students who live or study in one of the 12 Gucci Changemakers cities– Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Toronto, and Washington DC and/or plan to attend or currently attending a Historically Black College and University. Scholarships will be awarded for the 2020-2021 academic year for up to $20,000 per student.
“With the scholarship program, we aim to create opportunities and visibility for traditionally underrepresented creatives,” said Changemakers Council Co-chair, lawyer and writer, Yaseen Eldik. “Our goal is to break down barriers, particularly financial, and make fashion more diverse and inclusive.”
The Gucci Changemakers Impact Fund will award $10,000-$50,000 in grant funding in annual cycles to community-based 501(c)(3) organizations in designated Changemaker cities. Launching on Jan. 1, 2020, the funding will total up to $1 million in annual grants over five years.
Per a statement:
Funding will be provided to applicants focused on key social impact areas including social justice and equity; art and culture; and education.
Both programs aim to build strong connections and opportunities within diverse communities, while bringing positive change and inspiring solutions for a better future. Gucci will enlist the support of the Changemakers Council of community leaders and social change experts to make the final selections of both the students for the scholarship program and nonprofit partner organizations for impact funding.
Says Gucci’s President and CEO, Marco Bizzarri: “We have always believed in the importance of creating a more inclusive and diverse industry so we must invest in and empower the next generation of creatives, designers and leaders.”
Gucci Changemakers Impact Fund applications are due by 11:59 pm EST on Nov. 7, 2019; Scholarship applications are due by 11:59 pm EST on Dec. 31, 2019, and can be submitted online. More information is available online or at 1-877-482-2400.