Following the release of what seemed like a plethora of racially insensitive high-end and low-end products from fashion houses everywhere, one luxury brand, in particular, is taking the steps necessary to diversify its company and “amplify voices of color.”
Prada has created an advisory council that will be led by filmmaker and screenwriter Ava DuVernay and activist and artist Theaster Gates. The Prada Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council’s purpose is to “advise the company as it invests in diverse talent development and expands opportunities for young students of color in the fashion industry.”
The company’s new initiative includes partnering with several universities and colleges to create internships, sponsorships, and training programs at Prada offices in the US and worldwide.
“Prada is committed to cultivating, recruiting and retaining diverse talent to contribute to all departments of the company,” Miuccia Prada, chief executive officer and lead creative director at Prada, said in a statement. “In addition to amplifying voices of color within the industry we will help ensure that the fashion world is reflective of the world in which we live, and we are thrilled to be working with long-time collaborators, Ava DuVernay and Theaster Gates, on this important initiative. We look forward to working with the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council to help us grow not only as a company but also as individuals.”
Prada is no stranger to receiving backlash for racially insensitive imagery. In December, the luxury fashion house issued an apology and discontinued selling a small simian figure with a black face and big red lips, a creature created by Prada as part of its holiday “Pradamalia” collection.
“Prada Group abhors racist imagery,” Prada said in a statement according to CNN. “The Pradamalia are fantasy charms composed of elements of the Prada oeuvre. They are imaginary creatures not intended to have any reference to the real world and certainly not blackface. We abhor all forms of racism and racist imagery.”