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After holding Gucci accountable for its controversial "blackface sweater," Dapper Dan met with Gucci's corporate team in Harlem this week, and following his announcement on Instagram, the luxury house responded with new, concrete plans towards more diversity on Friday.
According to WWD, Gucci's plan consists of multiple long-term initiatives. In addition, Alessandro Michele will be "personally involved" in selecting five new, immediate design hires in its Rome design studio. "The designers will be paired with an individual mentor to ensure a seamless integration within the department," says the trade publication.
Gucci is also adding a newly created role — global director for diversity and inclusion — within its executive management committee and based in its New York City headquarters. The director's duties will focus on recruitment practices, Gucci's education programs and the volunteering initiative Gucci Changemakers. As one of its initiatives, global and regional directors for diversity and inclusion will be hired in each of the house's regions, all of whom will report to the global director.
A diversity and inclusivity awareness program will also go into effect at the beginning of May, which will help educate all of Gucci's reported 18,000 employees across the globe. Though, focus will "initially be on Italy and the U.S.," notes WWD. The program's one-day sessions are expected to be completed by the end of June and required follow-ups by all those involved will be enforced annually.
As mentioned in an internal memo from Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri, there are plans to launch a multicultural design scholarship program over a 12-month period in order to cultivate and amplify the talents of underrepresented groups. In partnership with fashion schools around the world, the program's locations include New York City's Harlem, Nairobi, Tokyo, Beijing, and Seoul (per Bizzarri's memo), as well as New Delhi, Hangzhou, Tokyo, Beirut, London and Dubai.
Lastly, Gucci plans to launch a global exchange program, effective immediately, which will pair selected individuals with mentors to work within its Italian headquarters.
UPDATE, Tues. July 30, 11:10 a.m.: Gucci announced its new hire for the Global Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion position on Tuesday, according to WWD. Renée Tirado, a licensed attorney, will report to CEO Marco Bizzarri, as well as spearhead the luxury label's global strategy around diversity and inclusivity. She most recently served as chief diversity and inclusion officer at Major League Baseball and has also held similar leadership roles at global insurance company AIG and the United States Tennis Association.
"I am in the business of making human connections that start with the foundations of inclusivity, respect and diversity to ensure Gucci remains culturally relevant and economically competitive," said Tirado in a statement to WWD. "I am honored to join a company that puts these non-negotiable values at the forefront of their business model, not as a 'nice to have' but as a key component of its business strategy. Diversity is on the agenda of many companies, but Gucci has now assumed a leadership role in the industry through the breadth of initiatives it is undertaking and the prioritization it has placed on it as a part of the overall business."
You can see more of Tirado in a video from Gucci, which was filmed to introduce her to the fashion house's employees.