Ar’Myiah Lee, Freshman, Parsons School of Design
Gucci Changemakers, which has been striving to increase diversity in the fashion industry since 2019, has recognized 22 new students with a $20,000 academic scholarship. This second class joins the previously awarded class in an effort to build an ongoing community of student Changemakers, which has been established through a $1.5 million fund over four years across its two programs: Gucci Changemakers Scholars and Gucci Changemakers X CFDA Scholars by Design.
These young creatives come from different backgrounds and are pursuing slightly different career paths, but they're all honing their skills at community colleges, undergraduate colleges, or universities. This honor doesn't just support young talent financially, by helping them afford tuition, but also offers mentorship and virtual internship opportunities, along with a platform to connect and engage with fellow scholars. 450 students applied for the 2021 program, and POPSUGAR talked to five of the talented and deserving recipients.
"Knowing that I have the safe space to experiment within the fashion industry pushes me to keep being a part of the representation for aspiring Black youth in creative fields."
Jewelry maker Lacey Garza is focused on creating designs and campaigns for people with disabilities. Model Ar'Myiah Lee hopes to build a sustainable fashion line that pays no heed to race, gender, or religion. Brianna Bryson is a photographer that explores identity and is focused on representing the Black community. Quinten Clifford has only been sewing for a year, but has a vision to recognize unique talent that might have otherwise been overlooked. And digital artist John Davillier uses his art as a medium for shedding light on global matters.
Davillier summarizes the motive behind Gucci's initiative quite simply: "Fashion and design are great ways to spread messages because of how universally celebrated and admired these industries are." In highlighting fashion enthusiasts that aim to make a difference and promote inclusion within their work, Gucci is paving the way for smarter, more dignified leaders to control the fashion narrative. Ahead, read what these Changemakers told POPSUGAR about building their portfolios that stood out for a very good reason, and stay tuned for the application for the next round of scholarships, which opens fall 2021.