Gucci North America Changemakers Scholars 2020 Transcription


The Gucci North America Changemakers Scholars are a group of young people from diverse backgrounds who are pursuing careers within fashion at undergraduate colleges or universities. They will receive an academic scholarship for up to $20,000 in addition to mentorship and virtual internship opportunities through Gucci America. Discover the scholars’ vision for a more diverse, inclusive, sustainable fashion industry that will continue to inspire progress and how Gucci’s support will help them bring this vision to life.


Gucci Changemakers Scholar Maya Davis: “Attending college is the gateway to a brighter future and by attending college and obtaining my degree, I can share my experiences to help others. I can provide others with even more opportunities and a jumpstart to a brighter future.”

Gucci Changemakers X CFDA Scholar Ajai Kasim: “I want to be a part of fashion to be able to change the negative perceptions of oppressed or marginalized people. It’s about getting past the negative opinions of others, that initial gaze, accepting that some people will always find something to criticize, and taking your power back. Letting that vulnerability that the initial gaze created push you further. I feel like when people do that, people allow themselves to be free.”

Gucci Changemakers Scholar Fabiola Lopez: “The benefits that your financial assistance will provide would be multiple and diverse. Not only will I grow academically, but also creatively. I will be able to spend more time to complete my degree and to grow in my skills as a photographer in the fashion industry. The time and energy that I’m able to spend on my personal growth will allow me to be a better role model, a better team member and a better contributor.”

Gucci Changemakers Scholar Gideon Gomm: “The primary aspect of what excites me the most is this potential for mentorship and this opportunity to work with a mentor from the House of Gucci or from the CFDA. Over the past few years, but really my entire life, I’ve seen these institutions propel the industry forward, making these environmental and economic strides and not only that, just making cutting-edge garments and moving the craft forward. And I’ve made all these steps to get to a place where I have the chance of collaborating with these amazing designers and these amazing people and so it would truly be an honor to do that.”

Gucci Changemakers Scholar Kaitlyn Gilliam: “Why keep in an area that is not diverse when fashion itself never stays the same, it’s always changing, it’s ever changing. I feel like we should keep that up and also how else will perspectives be told through clothes if we don’t include diversity?”

Gucci Changemakers Scholar Marcus Williams: “Hello, my name is Marcus Williams and I am 19 years old from Los Angeles, California. As a Changemaker, I will change the world through fashion by expanding the boundaries and pushing the envelope for making it more than just fashion.”

Gucci Changemakers Scholar Nailah Barnes: ” The Gucci Changemakers Scholars Award is an outlier in its intentional approach to giving young people an opportunity to use their diverse experiences to impact the world of fashion. With this scholarship, I will continue to build my fashion acumen by rejecting convention and embracing growth.”

Gucci Changemakers Scholar Malachi Williams: “Creativity is a way of putting what’s in our minds onto our bodies, and without diversity, where are we going to get these ideas from? You know what I’m saying, it’s not going to come from anything, you have nothing. You have to see something to be able to put it into your mind.”

Gucci Changemakers Scholar Astrid Viera: “Keeping important voices out of discussion is an inclusivity issue, whether it’s towards women or people of color. While there has been progress in the industry, there is much more that needs to be done, there is still more work to be put in to the progress that’s been already made because we could go a lot father with the industry and the inclusivity and the diversity.”

Gucci Changemakers Scholar Trevon Barnes: “Gucci Changemakers scholarship would be a tremendous help to me so I will be able to focus on my studies and not have to worry about any expenses. I want to be able to have people look at me and be inspired, seeing me as big help they may need to experience a different life because I was once in the same position they were in.”

Gucci Changemakers Scholar Gabrielle DeLeon: “I feel like just my presence in the industry could really have an impact on the industry seeing that there is becoming a more diverse group of designers. One thing I really want to make diverse about the industry is definitely just me as a designer being able to be successful in the industry.”

Gucci Changemakers Scholar Kaya Ugorji: “Why diversity is important in the fashion industry—it’s not just important on runways in terms of models that we see walking down runways and models on magazines, but it’s also very important in Board rooms and just behind the scenes. When you look at groups of people who are deciding what to put on runways, who’s getting on the magazine covers, if they all have the same background, the same upbringing, you’re getting one perspective, one point of view. Whereas if you have a diverse group of people, you get multiple stories in the Board rooms behind the scenes so you’re getting multiple perspectives.”

Gucci Changemakers Scholar Glory Lee: “Art, literature, philosophy and history are bound to move together under the common goal of progress. So, in order to become a fashion designer capable of changing this world, I strongly believe in “Ongoyijishim”. This line from the analogs of Confucius means “Learning from the old to understand and create the new”.”

Gucci Changemakers Scholar Marie France Mendy: “As a Changemaker, I will impact the world through fashion by first starting out locally. And I think it’s really important to start locally and start small because that is where I have access to and that is where I can make the most change in, rather than trying to fix larger systemic issues all on my own.”

Gucci Changemakers Scholar Jasmine Bacchus: “I want to change the fashion industry though the law. Now it might sound a little bit crazy, but upon graduating from Brown. I want to become a fashion lawyer, focusing on intellectual property and mergers and acquisitions. I’ve watched time and time again women of color and young designers of color get their work stolen by major corporations and I think that I have the opportunity to use my platform and my knowledge of the law to help change that and help fight for them. I really want to be a person that is primarily helping these designers keep their works protected.”

Gucci Changemakers Scholar Destinee Elliott: “When designers are able to create pieces based off of their own personal aesthetic and seek inspiration from different aspects of life, they are able to come up with such a wide variety of pieces, which their consumers can then go in, look at which ones they think are cute and make their own outfits that reflect who they are as people. Being able to do that is a luxury that is so special, no one should be deprived from it, which is why diversity and creativity in the fashion industry is such an important concept.” 

Gucci Changemakers Scholar Sekoi Cooper: “Other people who have had that moment of just discomfort and failure when it comes to trying to find sizes or trying to find something that looks right on you, but also trying to figure out who you are at that moment—I feel like I’m creating for that person who’s asking all of those questions still and still feel like those questions aren’t answered. Really paying attention to what I think the industry needs and not just creating just to create and just having a bunch of stuff just to sell to people.”

Gucci Changemakers Scholar Diop Russell: “I want to see petiteness explored in a variety of ways because I am not a token. I want to see petite Black women race runways in flat shoes, just celebrating their size. Diversity is understanding that my height, my race, my experience is full and complex.”

Gucci Changemakers Scholar Nicole Scott: “More sustainable practices, zero waste options, eco-friendly materials, more upcycling brands, just a bunch of creative ideas for making our planet a little bit greener.”

Gucci Changemakers Scholar Celeste Haselrig: “Receiving a financial award from Gucci will be instrumental in my life because it is the opportunity that will assist in my climb. As the daughter of a single mother, I have watched the climb before. I have witnessed unshattered ceilings, closed and locked doors, and the feeling of discomfort upon the realization that I am absorbing a space never intended for my body nor my voice. It feels like heaven to find myself among creators at Parson’s and the infinite dreamers of New York City, though I know the spaces for me among them, in the clouds so lush and opulent, are still few and far between.”

Gucci Changemakers Scholar Kristian Brown: “Fashion is a billion-dollar industry and it is also one of the world’s largest polluters. By changing the way garments are dyed and created, companies can help lessen the impact that fashion has on the environment. Another aspect in which fashion can create positive change in the world is representation and inclusivity by promoting and showing people of all different cultures, races. We can move towards a more accepting society. It’s very hard to understand someone that’s different than you.”

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