Gucci opens a pop-up shop in Chicago to debut new psychedelic collection and honour the recipients of its first-ever $50,000 grant

The inside of the Gucci pop up in Chicago, Illinois. Gucci

Gucci debuted its new 1970s psychedelia-inspired collection,GG Psychedelic Pin, over NBA All-star weekend. The event also celebrated the first-ever recipients of the House’s Gucci Changemakers North America grant that was created last year to help increase diversity in the fashion industry.

16 grant winners were announced on January 27. This included Chicago-based non-profits After School Matters and Braven. Both are organisations hoping to make an impact on the lives of Chicago youth and will receive a grant for up to $US50,000 a year.

Gucci Chicago Pop Up
The inside of the Gucci pop up in Chicago, Illinois. Gucci

After School Matters is an organisation that provides after-school and summer programs for about 19,000 high school students each year. The Changemaker grant will give 16 fashion programs to 250 students this year. The programs will help students learn technical skills such as sewing, illustration, as well as garment design and construction, according to Gucci.

Braven is a national nonprofit that helps prepare college students for employment. The grant from Gucci will help 70 first-generation students develop fashion and networking skills. This also extends to people of colour and those from low socioeconomic backgrounds.

Gucci Chicago Pop Up
The inside of the Gucci pop up in Chicago, Illinois. Gucci

Both organisers from After School Matters and Braven were invited to celebrate with Gucci where they were able to meet and mingle with each other, as well as prominent guests such as filmmaker Spike Lee.

Gucci Pop up shop Chicago
Some members of After School Matters. Gucci

Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) reports that the Gucci pop-up is set to close March 2.

Gucci Gets Going

The scholarships are the latest efforts from Gucci as the brand aims to raise diversity and inclusion. In early 2019, the brand attracted controversy after it released an $US890 sweater that resembled blackface.

Gucci Creative Director Alessandro Michele addressed the backlash and took “full accountability” for what had happened. In an exclusive interview with WWD, Gucci President and CEO Marco Bizzarri said the incident was “not intentional” but that was “not an excuse.”

“We make mistakes, and certain are worse than others because they offend people,” he told the publication. “The lack of knowledge of diversity and the consequent understanding are not at the level we expected, despite all the efforts we did inside the company in the last four years.”

Earlier this month, the New York Times (NYT) reported that the New York City Commission on Human Rights reached a settlement with Prada after the brand was forced to stop selling its Pradamalia figurines, which many said resembled the racist black face caricature Little Black Sambo. The Commission was in talks with Gucci as well.