Following accusations of racism and racial insensitivity, Prada moved to instate a Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council with the goal of elevating "voices of color within the company and the fashion industry at large." The biggest name attached is a bona fide Big Deal, too: the fashion giant enlisted director, writer, and producer Ava DuVernay as well as artist/activist Theaster Gates.
WWD reports that Prada was moved to take action after several products had to be pulled because onlookers saw a striking similarity to blackface. Gucci faced similar accusations and it moved to create diversity initiatives and scholarships this week, hoping to bring inclusiveness to all creative teams, including collaborator and established Harlem designer Dapper Dan.
"Prada has been my ally in some of the most ambitious artistic projects I've done today including the launch of the Black Image Corporation," Gates said of the project. "Growing diversity efforts in the company is important to Ava, Miuccia and I and I am eager to lead the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council and achieve meaningful impact throughout the fashion industry."
Prada isn't just working on itself. Through its new program, the company is hoping to reach colleges and organizations and build internships and apprenticeships in "diverse communities." The program will be instated in the U.S. and every Prada office worldwide. It's just the beginning of what the brand hopes is a larger movement. The company issued the following statement:
Prada is committed to cultivating, recruiting and retaining diverse talent to contribute to all departments of the company. 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.