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Gucci unveils plan to improve diversity after controversy

By Robyn Turk


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After last week's controversy over its high-necked balaclava sweater that evoked blackface imagery, Gucci is taking measures to ensure a similar mistake does not happen again. Both CEO Marco Bizzarri and creative director Alessandro Michele spoke out following the incident, calling it a "mistake" and promising to learn from it.

The brand shared concrete plans with WWD on Friday, highlighting long-term initiatives that aim to transform Gucci into a more diverse and multi-cultural brand. Its first four steps are to hire directors for diversity and inclusion at both global and regional levels, to set up a multicultural design scholarship program, to launch a diversity and inclusivity awareness program and to launch a global exchange program.

Gucci said it will immediately hire five new designers, selected from around the world, to work at the brand's Rome design office. The new designers will be teamed with an individual mentor to help seamless integration within the design department.

A position for Global Director for Diversity and Inclusion has been created, to be based at Gucci America in New York. The company is currently searching for the new director.

Gucci's new multicultural design scholarship program will work to nurture new talent, through partnerships with global fashion schools around the world. The 12-month program is built to help underrepresented groups of talent to find opportunities.

The brand told WWD that its global learning program is objected to educate all of the company's 18,000 international employees "to increase awareness of unconscious cultural bias.” The program will start by May and be completed by the end of June.