Prada Launches Diversity Program After Accusations of Racism

A month before the coronavirus pandemic hit New York, the brand Prada promised the city’s Human Rights Commission that it would take internal and external measures to deal with accusations of racism.

On Thursday, the company announced a series of programs aimed at improving diversity in its workforce and in the fashion industry as a whole, including a paid internship program, scholarships to the Fashion Institute of Technology and a partnership with Dorchester Industries to create a “design laboratory”, among other initiatives, all aimed at people from minority communities.

The Prada Group is taking real and meaningful actions that will expand the career and professional opportunities for black people in the fashion industry,” said Malika Savell, director of diversity, equity and inclusion at Prada North America, in a company statement. She added that Prada recognizes “the barriers to entering the fashion industry and the importance of representation”.

The New York Human Rights Commission opened an investigation into Prada after the company was criticized for selling figurines in 2018, which had a strong resemblance to racist cartoons historically used to dehumanize blacks. To end the investigation, Prada agreed to “invest in restorative justice efforts to combat racism and promote diversity and inclusion in Prada‘s business, advertising and product activities,” according to a February 2020 report.


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