Luxury brand Gucci has said it plans to increase cultural diversity within the company following controversy over a sweater that resembled blackface.
The company announced in an Instagram statement Friday the first of four initiatives aimed at starting a “long-term plan of actions.”
“We accept full accountability for this incident, which has exposed shortfalls in our ongoing strategic approach to embedding diversity and inclusion in both our organization and in our activities,” Gucci’s president and CEO, Marco Bizzarri, said in the statement.
The Italian fashion house sold and then pulled a black sweater from its physical and online stores this month that could be pulled up over the bottom half of the face and featured a cutout and red lips around the mouth; many social media users said it looked like blackface.
Harlem designer Dapper Dan said Friday that he and a diverse group of “experts in inclusivity and accountability” met with representatives from Gucci about how to move forward.
“I am particularly grateful to Dapper Dan for the role he has played in bringing community leaders together to offer us their counsel at this time,” Bizzarri said in the statement.
Gucci created the global director for diversity and inclusion position as a result of the backlash and is seeking a candidate. The position will be based in New York. The company also plans to bring on five new designers who will work from its office in Rome, according to NBC News.
The company also wants to build a "more diverse and inclusive workplace on an ongoing basis” and will launch multicultural scholarship programs in 10 cities around the world.