Gucci and Tommey Walker are changing together — and for the benefit of everybody.
The Italian luxury brand linked with Walker’s Detroit Vs. Everybody for a Gucci Changemakers collaboration. The initiative, which WWD first reported last month, will help support nonprofit groups and expands on Gucci’s social efforts.
Detroit Vs. Everybody is known for its hometown pride, social consciousness and bold T shirts that have been worn by everyone from rapper Eminem to politicians, declaring, “Shady Vs. Everybody,” “Everybody Vs. Injustice,” “Everybody Vs. Racism,” “Everybody Vs. COVID-19” and more.
The lineup of $390 T shirts, made with Gucci’s fabric and raw materials and featuring Walker’s Vs. Everybody graphic, goes on sale today at Gucci flagships in its 11 designated Changemaker cities in the U.S. and on gucci.com.
There will also be a release of special-edition Gucci Vs. Everybody shirts available exclusively in Detroit at the Troy Somerset Collection Gucci store.
This is the first time Gucci has sold product under the Changemakers umbrella.
The effort expands Walker’s mantra geographically adding Los Angeles Vs. Everybody, Miami Vs. Everybody, New York Vs. Everybody and more for a limited run with Gucci. The call outs go to the cities where the Gucci Changemakers program donates to nonprofit groups supporting social change and seeking to build connections and opportunities within communities of color.
Gucci called the Vs. Everybody logo “a simple concept with a powerful message” that “embodies the fiercely independent and unapologetic spirit of Detroit.”
“It is this resiliency that has allowed the city to resurrect and revitalize itself while breaking cultural and social barriers along the way,” the brand said in a statement. “It is this creative spirit and vision that has deeply resonated with Gucci.”
Walker added the partnership was “a dream come true,” lauded Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele as a “creative genius,” and said, “Detroit Vs. Everybody and Gucci share the same unifying ethos, to bring people together for a greater good and to transform a feeling into a cultural moment.”
Walker told WWD: “Our platform exists to awaken the spirit of Detroit living in everybody — to inspire everybody to persist, rather than quit; to contribute, rather than complain; to unify, rather than divide, and to innovate, rather than duplicate.”
The Gucci collaboration shines a bright spotlight on Detroit Vs. Everybody and Walker plans to make the most of it.
“The Gucci Vs. Everybody project will enable Detroit Vs. Everybody to accelerate our plans to inspire changemaking momentum in communities throughout key U.S. cities and throughout the world,” he said.
“My mission on earth has always been to inspire others to dream by showing them that dreams can be realized even when ‘everybody’ says they can’t,” he said. “I am so excited that by living my dream, I will hopefully inspire everybody everywhere to realize theirs.”
Walker owns the “Detroit Vs. Everybody,” “Vs. Everybody” and “Everybody Vs.” trademarks throughout the world, but is fending off counterfeits trying to get in on a good idea.
“We hope that from the collaboration, consumers will realize that the only places to buy our authentic gear (which is designed and produced in Detroit) are at our flagship store in Detroit, on our website, and through a very limited number of highly select specialty store partners,” Walker said. “This is because whatever proceeds winding up in the hands of counterfeiters, are not deployed by DVE and its social impact partners to make change.”
The brand is unusual in that it has both a steady base and the ability to lay new foundations easily, adopting new cities or offering its own spin on new events.
“We are fortunate to have a tremendously flexible platform with our DNA which reflects the Spirit of Detroit,” Walker said. “This allows us to flex across and among apparel, accessories, the arts, athletics, and moments in culture. It also allows us to seamlessly connect the street with the C-suite, the past with the present, and the local to the world.”
And while the brand’s core seems oppositional with the Vs. hook, Walker focuses instead on the other — “Everybody.”
“There is nothing more inclusive and nothing more powerful than the concept of ‘everybody,’ and the power of unity,” he said. “While the Vs. is seen as negative by some, it is paradoxically a positive concept when paired with ‘everybody’ where there is no room for destructive divisiveness. The concept of ‘everybody” bridges cultures, races, religions, economic and ‘social’ standing. The cause is the common denominator uniting us all.”
To support the project, Gucci teamed with a Detroit production house to make a “video anthem” highlighting Walker and his brand and featuring other locals, such as mural artist Bakpak Durden. Walker will also be featured in conversation with activist and educator Brittany Packnett on a Gucci podcast.
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