Prada forms diversity council after blackface row

511
Prada diversity
// Prada forms diversity council in response to racism accusations last December
// Council to be chaired by artist Theaster Gates and Selma director Ava DuVernay
// Prada’s monkey-like keychain figurines were met with accusations of blackface

Prada has followed through a promise to form a diversity council after its use of blackface imagery in one of its products was met with controversy.

The diversity council will comprise of prominent academic and cultural experts and will be chaired by artist Theaster Gates and Oscar-nominated Selma director Ava DuVernay.

It will aim to “elevate voices of colour within the company and fashion industry at large” while working to develop “diverse talent” and expand opportunities for fashion students of colour.

The council will also work with Prada to partner with universities and organisations to promote internships and apprenticeships in diverse communities.

In December, Prada announced plans to set up an advisory council on diversity issues after its use of monkey-like keychain figurines for its Pradamalia collection when viral on social media.

The product was met with criticism for being racially insensitive and blasted by the public for its blackface imagery.

Prada initially defended itself, saying the Pradamalia range were “fantasy charms composed of elements of the Prada oeuvre” and were “not intended to have any reference to the real world”.

It then changed tack and publicly apologised, and also said it would would donate any proceeds from Pradamalia already sold to a New York-based organisation committed to fighting for racial justice.

“Prada is committed to cultivating, recruiting and retaining diverse talent to contribute to all departments of the company,” chief executive and lead creative director Miuccia Prada said of the new diversity council.

“In addition to amplifying voices of colour 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.”

More recently, rival Italian luxury house was also embroiled in blackface controversy over a black balaclava jumper with red cut-out around the mouth area.

Click here to sign up to Retail Gazette‘s free daily email newsletter