The Italian label is sending money in support of the demonstration for tighter gun laws.
In the wake of last week’s tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 people, students at the school have organized a nationwide demonstration in support of stricter gun laws under the banner March for Our Lives. The topic feels worlds removed from fashion, but Gucci’s recently announced donation of $500,000 to March for Our Lives makes the connection clear.
The donation is motivated in no small part by Gucci’s own experience with gun violence, according to Business of Fashion. Javier Jorge-Reyes, a salesman at a Gucci store in Miami, was killed and Leonel Melendez Jr., a manager at the same store, was injured in the mass shooting that took 49 lives at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida in 2016. The shooting at Pulse struck a particular chord with the broader fashion industry, too, and there was an outpouring of support from various fashion brands and designers. The brand Kenneth Cole has long advocated and supported gun control, donating to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence following the mass shooting in Newtown. And designers like Tom Ford, Zac Posen, and Christian Siriano are part of the organization Everytown for Gun Safety, which has its own fashion council. Gucci is the latest fashion brand to take a side.
“We stand with March For Our Lives and the fearless students across the country who demand that their lives and safety become a priority,” the company said via a statement. “We have all been directly or indirectly impacted by these senseless tragedies, and Gucci is proud to join this movement with a donation of $500,000."
In the world before Donald Trump became president, many corporations and fashion brands steered clear of political issues, especially thorny ones like gun control. Since the election, though, more fashion brands have found their political voices and have used their platforms to sell merchandise promoting feminism, immigration, and the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. But that’s all marketing. Even more crucially, a majority of these brands have put their money where their mouth is, moving from a slogan on a T-shirt to actually donating to the cause behind it. And it turns out that taking a stand can pay off: brands like Patagonia have shown that taking a stand on political issues can have a hugely positive effect on business as a side effect.
For his part, Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele has spoken in the past about how he wants to use his platform for change. “We have to use our voice,” he told the South China Morning Post in May 2017. “I don’t want to just talk about dress. The way you think is important.” Now, we’re seeing what that means.
Michele also issued his own statement addressing the donation to March for Our Lives. “I am truly moved by the courage of these students,” he said. “My love is with them and it will be next to them on March 24. I am standing with March for Our Lives and the strong young women and men across the United States who are fighting for their generation and those to come.”
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