Balenciaga to give full scholarships in support of The Black Alumni of Pratt

Kering-owned luxury fashion house Balenciaga is bolstering education and activism in support of The Black Alumni of Pratt (BAP).


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During the BAP’s 2019 Celebration of the Creative Spirit Scholarship Benefit Gala, Vira Capeci, president of the Americas at Balenciaga, announced that Balenciaga has made a commitment to support the BAP by providing two four-year scholarships for students of Pratt Institute.

Held on May 7 at the Park Hyatt New York in Manhattan, the annual gala honors individuals and companies in the world of art and design whose accomplishments and values resonate with those of Pratt, the institute said in a press release.

Among those honored was Balenciaga’s creative director, Demna Gvasalia, who was given the Creative Spirit Award (although the designer was unable to attend the gala).

Funds raised from the event help to provide Black and Latinx students with stipends and scholarships. Since its establishment in 1990, the BAP has raised over $5 million for its initiatives, in a bid to boost diversity in the industries of art and design.

Representation in the fashion industry continues to be a pressing issue as luxury brands are publicly taken to task for insensitivity. Since 2018, both Prada and Gucci (another Kering label) were dragged on social media and in the press for merchandise that echoed racist imagery of African-Americans. In the aftermath, Prada appointed director Ava DuVernay and artist Theaster Gates onto the new Prada Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council, while Gucci put over $10 million into its diversity effort, the "Gucci Changemakers" program.

According to Kering executives, Balenciaga is both the fastest growing label within the group and is predicted to surpass the 1 billion-euro sales mark in 2019, thanks in major part to Gvasalia’s leadership.

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