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Prada Forms Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion After Blackface Allegations

Prada announced Sunday that it would form an advisory council to address issues of diversity, inclusion and culture.

The formation of the council comes in direct response to allegations of blackface and racism against the brand.

The controversy began when a public Facebook post made by civil rights lawyer Chinyere Ezie on Thursday went viral. The post called out items from the Pradamalia collection for their “racist and denigrating blackface imagery” and asked that social media users share/retweet.

Prada released an initial response to the allegations on Friday, explaining that it would pull the imagery from circulation and displays.

“Prada Group abhors racist imagery. 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,” the brand stated. “Prada Group never had the intention of offending anyone and we abhor all forms of racism and racist imagery. In this interest we will withdraw the characters in question from display and circulation.”

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In a tweet on Sunday, the brand expanded on its initial response, made a full apology for putting the products to market and outlined specific steps to improve going forward.

“At Prada, we are committed to creating products that celebrate the diverse fashion and beauty of cultures around the world. We would like to convey our deep regret and sincere apologies for the Pradamalia products that were offensive,” the post read.

In addition to forming the advisory council, Prada announced it would re-examine the processes that had led the products to come to market in the first place.

Prada is also donating proceeds from the offending products it sold to a New York-based charity specializing in racial justice.

The Italian label is not the first fashion brand to come under fire for racial insensitivity in its product lines and marketing.

In January 2018, fast-fashion retailer H&M found itself in hot water after sharing an image of a black child clad in a sweatshirt reading “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle.” In light of the incident, H&M partner The Weeknd announced he would cut ties with the brand, and #BoycottHM began trending on Twitter. The same month, Amazon was forced to remove a line of children’s clothing emblazoned with the phrase “Slavery gets s**t done,” following public outcry from customers as well as antislavery organizations.

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