Gucci ramps up commitment to social responsibility

Gucci is strengthening its commitment to promoting social and environmental initiatives.This week, the Italian luxury label’s president and chief executive officer, Marco Bizzarri, as well as creative director Alessandro Michele, announced the launch o…

Gucci is strengthening its commitment to promoting social and environmental initiatives.

This week, the Italian luxury label’s president and chief executive officer, Marco Bizzarri, as well as creative director Alessandro Michele, announced the launch of Gucci Equilibrium.

Anchored by three pillars relating to people, nature, and sustainability, the plan is underpinned by a series of targets leaders want to achieve by 2025.

“The fearlessness of this generation to express themselves gives me hope that a future of freedom and equality is possible,” said Michele of the venture, while Bizzarri added: “Gucci is not a company where you must leave your values at the door, but one where they are enhanced, challenged and amplified. Gucci Equilibrium is about us spreading that energy and that positive intent to everyone who loves our brand.”

Among the initiatives is a plan to overturn gender imbalance and inequality, use campaigns to support girls’ and women’s empowerment, as well as show support for organisations responding to increased gender-based violence during the coronavirus crisis.

As for the environment, Gucci leaders are introducing ambitious targets and want to soon guarantee the traceability of 95 per cent of raw materials, reduce the total footprint to 40 per cent, decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent, and use only renewable energy by the end of this year.

“Gucci is driven by the issues that are fundamentally influencing and creating our collective future. We are committed to generating positive change for people and for nature across our business,” insisted Bizzarri.

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Gucci pledges $2.2 million towards coronavirus crisis relief efforts

Gucci has pledged to donate $2.2 million (£1.7 million) towards relief efforts during the coronavirus crisis.Since the outbreak began in Wuhan, China last December, there has been 550,000 reported cases around the world and approximately 24,900 deaths…

Gucci has pledged to donate $2.2 million (£1.7 million) towards relief efforts during the coronavirus crisis.

Since the outbreak began in Wuhan, China last December, there has been 550,000 reported cases around the world and approximately 24,900 deaths. At present, the U.S., France, and Spain are among the worst affected nations, while hospitals in Italy are being overwhelmed with an estimated 62,000 active cases.

In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, executives at Italian fashion house Gucci announced on Thursday that they will be donating $1.1 million (£897,000) to the Italian Civil Protection Department in aid of health services in Italy and another $1.1 million to the United Nations Foundation’s Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund in support of the World Health Organization via Facebook’s $10 million Matching Fundraiser. Officials at the health groups are monitoring and collecting data on the spread of the virus to strengthen intensive care units across the world, supplying protection equipment to health personnel, and fast-tracking the creation of vaccines and therapies.

“Gucci has created a world, open and free: a Gucci global community,” creative director Alessandro Michele and chief executive officer Marco Bizzarri said in a joint statement. “We ask all of you to be the changemakers in this crisis, to stand together with us in the fight against the coronavirus. We are all in this together.”

Meanwhile, Valentino founders Valentino Garavani and Giancarlo Giammetti are contributing $1.1 million towards the newly established Columbus Covid 2 Hospital in Rome.

“In such a dramatic moment for the whole world, we wanted to give our contribution to win this crucial battle against this invisible, but terrible enemy,” they commented. “Our deepest gratitude goes to those women and men who are fighting night and day to save human lives in our hospitals.”

Other major Italian fashion brands to pledge contributions towards the crisis include Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, and Versace.

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Dapper Dan was ‘too nervous’ to meet Anna Wintour at Met Gala

Dapper Dan was “too nervous” to meet Anna Wintour at his very first Met Gala.The Harlem-based couturier, real name Daniel Day, is known for pioneering streetwear in the 1980s and making bespoke garments for celebrities. In recent years, Dan has formed …

Dapper Dan was “too nervous” to meet Anna Wintour at his very first Met Gala.

The Harlem-based couturier, real name Daniel Day, is known for pioneering streetwear in the 1980s and making bespoke garments for celebrities.

In recent years, Dan has formed a partnership with bosses at Gucci, and was thrilled when he was invited to attend the prestigious fashion event with the team in 2018 – though he was disappointed not to meet two style icons at the bash.

“The Met sealed the deal for me in terms of fashion,” he said during a chat with Ashley Graham for her Pretty Big Deal podcast. “There was two people I wanted to meet. (Fashion journalist) Andre Leon Talley and, of course, the queen (U.S. Vogue editor-in-chief) Anna Wintour. If I could be acknowledged by the king and queen, that seals the deal. I messed up the first time, I was so nervous I didn’t walk through the right door – I didn’t get to shake her hand!”

Dan, who went on to indicate that he did get to introduce himself to Wintour at the 2019 Met Gala, explained that he was happy to have the support of Graham because he was not used to being in such a star-studded environment.

“You called me from the party, made sure I was alright. I was in a strange land,” the 75-year-old recalled. “I’m standing there and it’s just me, Marco Bizzarri – the CEO of Gucci – and that’s a big deal for me. And so, I’m looking around, the Kardashians are back there, Madonna’s over there, and I’m (thinking), ‘Wait a minute, am I in the right line?’ I couldn’t believe what was happening. It was a very big deal.”

Elsewhere in the chat, Graham thanked Dan for allowing her to have a hands-on approach when co-designing her look for this year’s event. And the veteran trendsetter insisted that he has always had the same viewpoint when it comes to collaborating.

“I see fashion as primarily something that’s transformative. Not just transformative coming from me, but to be able to transform people that I dress,” he smiled.

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Gucci goes carbon neutral in bid to tackle climate change

Gucci’s supply chain is now entirely carbon neutral.Last month, bosses at the parent company of the Italian luxury brand, Kering, announced that they have committed to a sustainability pact, alongside 31 other leading companies. Now, Gucci executives h…

Gucci’s supply chain is now entirely carbon neutral.

Last month, bosses at the parent company of the Italian luxury brand, Kering, announced that they have committed to a sustainability pact, alongside 31 other leading companies.

Now, Gucci executives have announced that in an effort to reduce environmental impacts, the label, helmed by creative director Alessandro Michele, is offsetting all remaining Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions annually from operations and the entire supply chain through four critically important REDD+ projects that support forest conservation around the world. The term REDD+ refers to initiatives seeking to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

“A new era of corporate accountability is upon us and we need to be diligent in taking all steps to mitigate our impacts, including being transparent and responsible for our GHG emissions across our supply chains,” said Marco Bizzarri, president and chief executive officer of Gucci, in a statement. “To address the need for urgent solutions, Gucci is setting an ambitious new precedent through our carbon neutral commitment. This is based on a clear strategy to ensure we account for all of our GHG emissions across our supply chain, act to first avoid, reduce and restore, and then offset the unavoidable emissions through important REDD+ projects.”

In addition, a Gucci spokesperson explained that while the company has made major inroads with its environmental targets since 2015, there will be a continuing focus on avoiding and reducing GHG emissions as a priority. Key plans include using low-impact alternative and sustainable materials, sustainable sourcing, and implementing manufacturing efficiencies.

“We are redefining ‘carbon neutral’ through a logical strategy that avoids, reduces, restores and offsets and I hope other CEOs across all sectors will view this as a call to action,” added Bizzarri. “Collective corporate action is needed now in order to make a significant contribution to our nature and society in the coming decade and for our future generations.”

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Gucci pledges to contribute to restoration project in Rome

Gucci bosses have pledged $1.8 million (£1.4 million) to the restoration and conservation of Rome’s Belvedere Garden at Villa Tarpea. The Italian fashion house staged its resort 2020 show in May at the historic Capitoline Museums, which is nearby th…

Gucci bosses have pledged $1.8 million (£1.4 million) to the restoration and conservation of Rome’s Belvedere Garden at Villa Tarpea.

The Italian fashion house staged its resort 2020 show in May at the historic Capitoline Museums, which is nearby the historic area that dates back to the first century.

Now, Gucci is investing in restoring the area at Villa Tarpea – and the green area landscape located on the rock of the Capitoline Hill – over the next two years.

The project, called Rupe Tarpea: Between Legend and Future, is aimed at the restoration, preservation and improvement of the Tarpeian Rock in Rome, a steep cliff of the southern summit of the Capitoline Hill, overlooking the Roman Forum.

Marco Bizzarri, president and chief executive officer of the luxury label, said it was an honour to be involved in the restoration of history in Rome, which is the birthplace of Gucci’s creative director, Alessandro Michele.

“Being able to make a civil contribution to the eternal city, the birthplace of our creative director and which also houses our design office is an immense honour for me,” he said in a statement, according to WWD. “Alessandro and the contemporaneity of Gucci are in constant daily dialogue with the ancient world. It is an endless conversation because every day we are confronted with the weightless presence of our heritage. Contributing to the restoration of the Rupe Tarpea and its return to the citizens of Rome and its visitors, is for me and all at Gucci, an infinite joy.”

This is not Gucci’s first donation to restoration projects in Italy. Back in 2017, executives pledged $2.1 million to support the restoration of Florence’s Boboli Gardens when Michele decided to hold the brand’s cruise 2018 show at the Palatina Gallery overlooking the venue.

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Alessandro Michele references anti-abortion laws in new Gucci cruise line

Alessandro Michele has made a bold political statement with his latest Gucci cruise collection.The creative director showed off his latest designs in Rome on Tuesday; an eclectic mix of retro cuts, bold colours and preppy sportswear. In among the des…

Alessandro Michele has made a bold political statement with his latest Gucci cruise collection.

The creative director showed off his latest designs in Rome on Tuesday; an eclectic mix of retro cuts, bold colours and preppy sportswear.

In among the designs were even bolder statements, with Michele referencing the recent anti-abortion laws in some American states with the phrase “My Body My Choice” stitched across the back of one purple blazer, and the date May 22, 1978 – when Italian lawmakers passed the law for legal abortion – also included on pieces. The designer even embroidered an image of the female reproductive system onto one gown.

“My new cruise collection is, as usual, an homage to many things and to different cultures and historical moments,” Michele told WWD. “Among other citations, there are some references to the ’70s, a moment in time when boundaries were blurred compared with nowadays. A specific moment in time when different cultures were intermixed. It was a historical moment when women – finally – rejected all the constraints that were imposed in the previous centuries and they became free.

“That’s why I am paying homage to the Italian law regarding abortion, the law number 194. It’s unbelievable that around the world there are still people who believe that they can control a woman’s body, a woman’s choice. I will always stand behind the freedom of being, always.”

The fashion star went on to credit Gucci president and chief executive officer Marco Bizzarri for allowing him total freedom when it comes to the messages he wants to put across through his clothes.

Michele called it a “great opportunity” to be the head of one of the most famous and powerful fashion brands in the world, and he vowed to carry on mixing politics with design.

“My clothes, my shows, my campaigns and all the projects I am producing for Gucci are my voice, ‘my weapon’ of choice. I have been lucky, I’ve been the megaphone and I really want to use it for a purpose,” the 47-year-old stated.

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Gucci launches Changemakers programme and diversity initiative

Gucci executives have unveiled a new global programme to boost diversity and inclusion in fashion.In February (19), bosses at the Italian fashion house, including creative director Alessandro Michele, came under fire for advertising a black “balaclava …

Gucci executives have unveiled a new global programme to boost diversity and inclusion in fashion.

In February (19), bosses at the Italian fashion house, including creative director Alessandro Michele, came under fire for advertising a black “balaclava jumper” which covered the lower half of the face and featured a cutout around the mouth surrounded by a red lips design – with many social media users criticising the product for resembling “blackface”.

In the wake of a major online backlash, Gucci president and chief executive officer Marco Bizzarri, announced the launch of Gucci Changemakers on Monday (18Mar19), in order to support change in the industry and foster unity at the company.

“I believe in dialogue, building bridges and taking quick action. This is why we started working immediately on the long-term infrastructure at Gucci to address our shortcomings,” said Bizzarri in a statement. “And now through our Changemakers programme, we will invest important resources to unify and strengthen our communities across North America, with a focus on programmes that will impact youth and the African-American community.”

The Changemakers programme, initially launched internally in 2018, includes a multi-year $5 million (£3.7 million) Changemakers Fund and a $1.5 million (£1.1 million) scholarship programme in North America, alongside a global employee-volunteering framework.

Bizzarri commented that the fund will have a particular focus on building strong connections and opportunities within the “African-American community and communities of colour at-large, while bringing positive change and inspiring solutions for a better future”.

A Changemakers Fund will also be established in the Asia Pacific region, in conjunction with the rollout of the volunteering programme, in June.

In addition, Gucci bosses are to appoint a global director for diversity and inclusion, with Harlem couturier Dapper Dan named as one member of the new Gucci North America Changemakers Council alongside the likes of other writers, entertainers, educators, and activists.

Gucci collaborator Dan, who was highly critical of the “blackface” jumper, has praised the initiative.

“As a partner, I am proud to work with Gucci and other community leaders to help guide programmes that will create meaningful impact for the black community and fashion as a whole,” he said. “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.”

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50 Cent burns Gucci clothing following ‘blackface’ controversy

Rapper 50 Cent is so appalled by Gucci’s recent “blackface” controversy he’s burning all his clothes linked to the Italian fashion house. Bosses at the company came under fire after advertising a black knitted “balaclava jumper”, which covers the lowe…

Rapper 50 Cent is so appalled by Gucci’s recent “blackface” controversy he’s burning all his clothes linked to the Italian fashion house.

Bosses at the company came under fire after advertising a black knitted “balaclava jumper”, which covers the lower half of the face and features a red-lipped cut-out around the mouth.

Many quickly took to social media to accuse the designers, led by creative director Alessandro Michele, of creating a product which resembles “blackface” – the controversial makeover white people adopt to look like black figures.

Gucci chiefs were quick to issue an apology and confirmed the item would be withdrawn from sale, but this hasn’t appeased many black stars.

Rapper T.I. suggested the African-American community should boycott Gucci and now 50 Cent has announced he is burning the Gucci clothes and accessories he owns.

“I gotta get rid of all the Gucci I have at home,” he writes on Instagram, alongside a video of himself lighting a shirt on fire. “I’m not supporting their brand anymore.”

The rapper previously took to social media to express his anger with the company, writing, “Yeah I’m gonna pass on Gucci, I’m giving all mine to the homeless so the right demo can wear it.”

Following Gucci’s headline-making blunder, website Fashionista obtained an email from Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri sent to his staff, in which he acknowledged the severity of their error.

“We made a mistake. A big one. Because of cultural ignorance, but ignorance is not an excuse,” he wrote. “And we accept responsibility for this mistake. Yet there is no way of thinking nor believing that this could have ever been intentional.”

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Alessandro Michele suffered ‘the greatest grief’ over Gucci blackface scandal

Alessandro Michele has admitted he suffered “the greatest grief” when Gucci was accused of being racist upon the release of their black knitted balaclava jumper.The jumper covered the lower half of the face and featured a cutout around the mouth surrou…

Alessandro Michele has admitted he suffered “the greatest grief” when Gucci was accused of being racist upon the release of their black knitted balaclava jumper.

The jumper covered the lower half of the face and featured a cutout around the mouth surrounded by a red lips design – a design which many pointed out resembles “blackface”. Gucci apologised in a statement and withdrew the item from sale, while the label’s CEO Marco Bizzarri sent an email round to his colleagues in which he admitted the company made a “big mistake” selling the item.

Creative Director Michele is the latest to address the scandal, following in Bizzarri’s footsteps by sending an internal memo in which he spoke about his feelings surrounding the controversy.

“The fact that, contrarily to my intentions, that turtle-neck jumper evoked a racist imagery causes me the greatest grief,” he wrote in the letter, obtained by website Fashionista. “But I am aware that sometimes our actions can end up with causing unintentional effects. It is therefore necessary taking full accountability for these effects.”

Michele continued to tell his colleagues that his intention with the jumper was entirely different, and the piece “had very specific references, completely different from what was ascribed instead”.

“It was a tribute to Leigh Bowery, to his camouflage art, to his ability to challenge the bourgeois conventions and conformism, to his eccentricity as a performer, to his extraordinary vocation to masquerade meant as a hymn to freedom,” he explained.

However, Michele acknowledges that his intentions didn’t come across, and he instead contributed to causing offence by debuting the jumper.

“I really shelter the suffer of all I have offended (sic),” he concluded. “And I am heartfully sorry for this hurt. I hope I can rely on the understanding of those who know me and can acknowledge the constant tension towards the celebration of diversity that has always shaped my work. This is the only celebration I’m willing to stand for.”

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Katy Perry apologises for ‘blackface’ shoe design

Katy Perry is “saddened” by claims her shoe range resembles ‘blackface’. Just days after Italian fashion house Gucci hit headlines after being accused of resembling ‘blackface’ with their black knitted “balaclava jumper”, the Roar singer came under fi…

Katy Perry is “saddened” by claims her shoe range resembles ‘blackface’.

Just days after Italian fashion house Gucci hit headlines after being accused of resembling ‘blackface’ with their black knitted “balaclava jumper”, the Roar singer came under fire for products in her Katy Perry Collections footwear range.

Social media users took issue with her Ora Face Block Heel Sandal, a cream shoe, and Rue Face Slip On Loafers, a black pair, which both feature gold eyes, nose and red lips to create a face design, which many felt was strongly associated with ‘blackface’.

Katy and representatives from the Global Brands Group, who partnered on the collection, issued a statement to People.com on Monday night (11Feb19) in which they apologised for causing any offence and confirmed that the shoes would be pulled from sale.

“The Rue and The Ora were part of a collection that was released last summer in nine different colourways (black, blue, gold, graphite, lead, nude, pink, red, silver) and envisioned as a nod to modern art and surrealism,” the statement read.

“I was saddened when it was brought to my attention that it was being compared to painful images reminiscent of blackface. Our intention was never to inflict any pain. We have immediately removed them from http://katyperrycollections.com.”

Gucci also issued an apology after causing uproar over their turtleneck jumper, which covered the lower half of the face and featured a red-lipped cut-out around the mouth, and withdrew it from sale.

Reporters at website Fashionista recently obtained an email from Gucci chief executive Marco Bizzarri in which he admitted to staff they had made a big mistake.

“We made a mistake. A big one. Because of cultural ignorance, but ignorance is not an excuse,” he wrote. “And we accept responsibility for this mistake. Yet there is no way of thinking nor believing that this could have ever been intentional.”

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