Since 1921, Gucci has set the pace for the fashion industry. From instantly iconic prints to outrageous fashion campaigns, the Italian fashion house has always pushed the design boundaries. Sometimes a little bit too much though. Recently, Gucci has been been questioned about its somewhat dated values. Casting Director, James Scully openly criticised the company at an open panel of big thinkers organised by Business of Fashion “Gucci gets two thumbs down for lack of diversity”. The brand’s catwalk choices has become increasingly alarming in recent collections, and with more progressive pavements in the fashion world, surely it’s time for Gucci to reconsider its representatives.
Two years ago Alessandro Michele had his first show, the Creative Director was universally praised and his new spin on the luxury looks were celebrated. His innovative twists on classic pieces are still admired today and Gucci has become a clear trendspotter top choice. But Michele was criticised for his However, Michele was criticised for the models he was using. There was no diversity in body type, gender or race.
Come January. Gucci’s Pre Fall Campaign, set with high expectations for the garments and model range, did not disappoint. Casting only black models, Gucci set a strong example of how fashion can be more inclusive, whilst highlighting killer looks of pastel pinks and platform sneakers. Nine audition videos appeared on Instagram and Twitter. All of the videos were filmed in London and all of the models were from the Midland Agency, the same agency used by Hood By Air. The models discussed their spirit animals and grooved to Duke Browner’s Crying Over You.
Gucci went on to confirm its changing view of the fashion world and have taken more steps to ensure diversity and representation. Gucci has made history by becoming the first luxury fashion brand to join Parks – Liberie Uguali, translating as to be free and equal. It Is an Italian non profit organisation which focuses on helping companies to create strategies that support diversity. Parks – Liberie Uguali particularly focuses on sexual orientation, equality and gender identity.
This U turn can be credited to Gucci’s parent company Kering Group who insisted on the address to the issue of diversity, particularly gender diversity. In 2010, Kering launched the Leadership and Gender Diversity programme, which promotes equal opportunity within the workplace. Kering signed a three year agreement with the UN Women French National Committee and took part on such campaigns such as HeForShe. Kering is also the parent group of the more inclusive brands such as Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga and Saint Laurent.
These important and bold steps towards a more diverse and collective brand, has re-orientated the other luxury fashion houses into new directions and we can only hope this is pursued in upcoming seasons. It is only fitting that Gucci showcases multifaceted models and speak about representation when its current designs are modern, unique and experimental. But is this initiative enough to promote a change within the fashion landscape’s established pace? And will Gucci even continue with this new set of fashion values now that it has made its statement? Should we pace our praise for now? Let’s hope Gucci’s careful curation is here to stay.
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