Gucci Appoints Chief Diversity Officer

Gucci, facing backlash for a past blackface-appearing sweater, has hired Major League Baseball’s chief diversity officer, Renée Tirado, to head its “Changemakers Council” and help the fashion industry to become more inclusive. Below are examples of pulled products.

Renée Tirado has an extensive work history as chief diversity officer for such organizations as the United States Tennis Association, AIG, Major League Baseball and now, fashion giant Gucci.

According to Vogue, Tirado is the first such officer in the company’s 98-year history. The above $890 sweater was the object of a viral tweet in February objecting to the blackface design. Curiously, similar products–Katy Perry shows and Prada ornaments–were pulled from shelves, sparking discussion about bias in the fashion and magazine industries.

Although numerous examples exist, some of the most egregious in the magazine industry included Vogue misidentifying Noor Tagouri, 24, as Pakistani actress Noor Bukhari, 36, and WHO magazine confusing South-Sudanese model Adut Akech with images of Ugandan-Australian model Flavia Lazarus.

Tirado has been instrumental in advocating for more diversity, especially in business and managerial operations, in professional baseball. In the video below, she discusses how diversity can enhance leadership in the sports world.

Tirado hopes to instill a more diversity and representational influence in the fashion industry. As head of Gucci Changemakers, she will oversee $1.5 million in scholarships “to ensure a new generation of diverse and exceptional young people.”

Gucci plans to distribute $1 million per year over the next five years.

The fund will help high school seniors and college students who qualify for need-based scholarships–up to $20,000 per year–in these cities– Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Toronto, and Washington DC. Special consideration will be given to those planning to attend or are currently enrolled in a Historically Black College and University.

Another Gucci program will award thousands to students planning to study fashion design at an accredited four-year undergraduate college or university.

Vogue reports that Gucci hired Tirado because she was an outsider to the fashion industry. She is of Puerto Rican descent, reared in Brooklyn, and holds bachelor’s degrees in international relations and education from the University of Rochester. She earned a juris doctorate from Rutgers Law School.

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