“This is just the beginning of the journey, and there’s much more to come around the world. Every part of the world has its own priorities, and Prada takes things seriously, so stay tuned.”
Lorenzo Bertelli, Prada Group head of marketing and corporate social responsibility, expressed his pride in the new series of initiatives aimed at deepening the company’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and increase representation within the industry.
In his first joint interview with Malika Savell, who was named chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer at Prada North America last September, Bertelli said the company is launching internship and mentorship programs, also partnering with the Fashion Institute of Technology to develop scholarships focused exclusively on aspiring fashion industry professionals and undergraduate students of color in the United States and Africa.
At the same time, Prada is working closely with the United Nations Population Fund to develop an educational fashion module to promote gender equality in Africa, initially launching in Ghana and Kenya, which uses fashion and design as a tool to affect social change and promote gender equality. This module will be developed for and with young women in Kenya and Ghana to empower them socially and economically.
“Since Malika joined, we’ve been meeting multiple times a week in a very effective way. Since we created the diversity, equity and inclusion team, it has become part of my everyday job,” said Bertelli. “I have a constant conversation with Malika and her team, and we work side by side. I like the fact that a part of the DE&I team is in Milan and in the United States, but we work on a global level. I learn from regular exchanges with people of different backgrounds and cultures to understand how people from different countries and cultures think compared to how we used to think in Europe. This cultural difference supports a mutual learning process. In the end, it’s about getting more cultured and a 360-degree view of issues that every country has around the world. It’s a very nice, mutual relationship, and there’s a lot of data we take into consideration. We learn from each other, it’s a kind of mutual understanding across different cultures.”