Gucci's Plans for Dealing With Blackface Sweater Controversy Detailed in New Report

"It wasn't intentional," Gucci advisory council member Naomi Campbell said of the infamous sweater controversy.


Image via Getty/SOPA Images


In light of its recent blackface sweater controversy, Gucci has put in place new policies and launched a leadership role aimed at diversity and inclusion.

Top brand execs met at the NoMad hotel in New York ahead of the Met Gala, as profiled in a new Washington Post piece Tuesday. 

"I think it's ridiculous for people to say they were burning their [Gucci] clothes," said Naomi Campbell, who serves on the brand's newly formed advisory council. "Don't burn your clothes. It wasn't intentional." For Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri, the blame for the sweater—which had been available for several months before going viral on Twitter—arguably falls on him.

"I didn't know about blackface," Bizzarri, who is Italian, said. "It was easy for me to say, 'Okay, who made the mistake? I'm going to fire you to save my face.' If we made a mistake, I was the person who made the mistake."

View this video on YouTube

Gucci has also announced extensive scholarship plans for a global assortment of schools, launched a $5 million investment in community programs in 10 cities, and introduced a company policy allowing workers to spend company time volunteering. Additionally, the brand is set to hire a global director for diversity and inclusion. The aforementioned council, in addition to Campbell, also counts several activists and academics among its members.

Another facet of Gucci's plans moving forward is education, specifically aimed at ensuring "the sensitivities that were shocked" with the sweater aren't shocked again.

Still, Gucci has no intention of setting rules for designer Alessandro Michele. "If we stop being creative because we're afraid we're going to make a mistake, what happens to the company?" Bizzarri asked. 

While several artists and other former supporters joined a brand boycott following the sweater controversy, others—including Future—weren't as quick to nix the brand from their rotation. "Man, I bought Gucci before it got canceled so I'm still gon' wear it because that's my money," Future told the Streetz 94.5 team back in March.

Latest in Style