Fashioning the Future: Gucci Celebrates Its 1st Class of Changemaker Scholars

Illustration for article titled Fashioning the Future: Gucci Celebrates Its 1st Class of Changemaker Scholars
Image: Gucci

If the past few weeks have taught us anything, it’s the difference between promises and platitudes, and actions and accountability. Words of support are empty without effort and quantifiable results, and while multitudes of people are becoming more comfortable with phrases like “Black Lives Matter” all we’ve ever been asking is that they act like they do, too.

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With that in mind, we’re joining Gucci in celebrating their Class of 2020 North America Changemaker Scholars; the first since the Italian fashion house decided to redress its own racial crisis with initiatives that could potentially transform both (predominantly black) lives and the face of the fashion industry for decades to come. On Friday, the first 20 recipients of Gucci’s $1.5 million scholarship program were announced, with an additional two awardees of the Gucci North America Changemakers x CFDA Scholars By Design program.

Per a statement from Gucci provided to The Glow Up:

Gucci remains committed to creating positive change within the fashion industry and is honored to announce the 2020 class of Gucci North America Changemakers Scholars. The 20 recipients come from diverse backgrounds and are pursuing various careers within fashion at undergraduate colleges or universities. They will receive an academic scholarship for up to $20,000 in addition to mentorship and virtual internship opportunities through Gucci America...

Additionally, under the Changemakers umbrella, Gucci is honored to also announce the two recipients of the Gucci North America Changemakers x CFDA Scholars By Design program. This program was conceived to support two diverse graduating high school seniors who plan to study fashion design at an accredited four-year undergraduate college or university. This award is $20,000 per year for four years for both scholars.

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Launched in March of 2019, the Gucci North America Changemakers Scholarship program is one of several initiatives on the recently relaunched Gucci Equilibrium platform, which encompasses the company’s efforts toward “positive change for people and the planet.” Created to help meet the “unmet financial needs” of undergraduate students pursuing careers in the fashion industry, “the program primarily focuses on students from diverse backgrounds who live or study in one of the 12 Gucci North America 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 attend a Historically Black College and University (HBCU),” says the label, further explaining that all students who meet the criteria are eligible to apply. Final awardees are chosen by the North America Changemakers Council, a diverse collective comprised of community leaders, industry veterans and social change experts.

The scholarship program is part of Gucci’s multiyear, $1.5 million commitment “to ensure a new generation of diverse and exceptional young people will gain new opportunities and experiences across the fashion industry.”

“More than ever, Gucci believes in the power of investing in education and supporting diverse youth to continue the fight against racial inequality,” the label adds.

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“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,” said Gucci’s Vice President of Brand & Culture Engagement Antoine Phillips, also a 2020 honoree of The Glow Up 50. “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.”

The Gucci North America Changemakers Scholars Class of 2020 is pictured above and includes:

Astrid Viera, currently a high school senior who will be attending Mt. San Jacinto College · Celeste Haselrig, currently a college freshman attending Parsons · Destinee Elliott, currently a college freshman attending Thomas Jefferson University · Diop Russell, currently a college sophomore attending Spelman College · Fabiola Lopez, currently a college freshman attending Azusa Pacific University · Gabrielle DeLeon, currently a college freshman attending FIT · Gideon Gomm, currently a college freshman attending Parsons · Jasmine Bacchus, currently a college junior at Brown University · Kaitlyn Gilliam, currently a college junior at Howard University · Kristian Brown, currently a college sophomore at FIT · Malachi Williams, currently a high school senior who will be attending Hunter College · Marcus Williams, currently a college sophomore at University of Southern California: School of Cinematic Arts & Marshall School of Business · Marie France Mendy, currently a college sophomore at Cornell University · Maya Davis, currently a high school senior who will be attending Bowling Green State University · Miles Richards, currently a high school senior who will be attending College for Creative Studies Detroit · Nailah Barnes, currently a college sophomore at Spelman College · Nicole Scott, currently a college freshman at the University of Cincinnati · Sekoi Cooper, currently a college junior at Parsons · Glory Lee, currently a college freshman at Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design · Trevon Barnes, currently a college sophomore at FIT

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Gucci North America Changemakers x CFDA Scholars by Design winners are Ajai Kasim, currently a high school senior who will be attending Parsons; and Kaya Ugorji, currently a high school senior who will be attending FIT.

Applications for the 2021 Gucci North America Changemakers Scholarship Program will open in Fall 2020; for more information about Gucci’s Changemakers Initiatives as well as applications and eligibility requirements, please visit their website.

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up, co-host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door...May I borrow some sugar?

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