Gucci Announces the First Class of North America Changemakers Scholars

Sara Holzman
Photo credit: Courtesy of Gucci - Gallery Stock
Photo credit: Courtesy of Gucci - Gallery Stock

From Marie Claire

Gucci, the Milan-based luxury brand known for their quirky re-iterations of classic Italian tailoring and accessories, is not just about statement-making fashions. The company's newly relaunched Equilibrium platform (est. March 2019) will focus on social and environmental issues, starting with their Gucci North America Changemakers Scholars. On Friday, Gucci announced the 20 college students who make up this year's inaugural class.

The program centers on students pursuing various careers within the fashion industry. To qualify for the scholarship, students must live or study in one of 12 major North American cities or be currently enrolled in, or plan to attend, a historically Black college or university (HBCU), according to a statement from the brand.

Over the course of the last six months, a council of community leaders and social change experts affiliated with Gucci selected the winners. Each one will receive an academic scholarship of up to $20,000, a mentor, and a virtual internship with Gucci America.

As part of the Gucci North America Changemakers x CFDA Scholars By Design program, Gucci has also awarded two graduating high school seniors with a scholarship of $20,000 per year, for four years. Both of those students plan to study fashion design at an accredited four-year undergraduate college or university.

The monies awarded last week are just the start. Over the course of the next four years, Gucci says it plans (via these scholarship programs) to invest $1.5 million into a new, diverse generation of fashion designers, equipping them with the skills and experiences needed to succeed in the ever-changing world of fashion.

“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 Antoine Phillips, Vice President of Brand & Culture Engagement at Gucci, in a statement. “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.”

Congratulations to the Gucci North America Changemakers Scholars:

  • 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.

And to the Gucci North America Changemakers x CFDA Scholars By Design:

  • Ajai Kasim, currently a high school senior who will be attending Parsons

  • Kaya Ugorji, currently a high school senior who will be attending FIT

Applications for next year's class will open in Fall 2020.

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