Gucci has appointed a diversity chief as part of a drive to restore its batteredreputation after it was widely criticised for its use of racially charged and religiously insensitive designs.
The appointment of Renée Tirado, who was previously the chief diversity and inclusion officer at Major League Baseball, is the latest in a series of steps taken by the Italian fashion house in response to a pair of incidents that prompted claims the problem came from a lack of ethnic minorities within the company.
In February it was forced to withdraw an $890 (£689) balaclava knit, part of the autumn/winter 2018 collection, which covered half of the wearer’s face and featured a cutout mouth with large red lips. Critics said that the polo neck, which was released during Black History Month in the US, resembled blackface.
In the same month, the Milan-based brand announced it would hire global and regional directors for diversity and inclusion, as well as launching a multicultural design scholarship programme, a diversity and inclusion awareness programme and a global exchange programme.
But in May Gucci was again under fire again, this time for a £790 headpiece that resembled a turban, a piece from the same collection as the balaclava. The US-based Sikh Coalition said on Twitter that the turban is “not just a fashion accessory, but … also a sacred religious article of faith”.
In a video released previously, Tirado said that part of her work will be “bringing new conversations in”, such as: “How are we doing with the workforce diversity agenda? How can we bring more diverse people into not only Gucci, but the fashion industry more broadly? How do we provide a level playing field for those new employees to compete and be the future leaders of the industry?”
Her work will also, she said, be building on existing initiatives, such as the Changemakers programme announced in March, a “community fund and scholarship programme for North America alongside a global volunteering programme”.
He drove up in a battered old car.
A karate expert battered a man to death.