On Wednesday morning, Prada announced the creation of an official Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council that aims to “elevate voices of color within the company and the fashion industry at large.” It will be co-chaired by writer, director, and producer Ava DuVernay and artist and activist Theaster Gates.
This follows a recent slew of accusations of racism within the fashion industry. Both Prada and Gucci were moved to pull products from shelves after onlookers pointed out their resemblance to blackface. Gucci’s CEO and creative director issued a statement calling for full accountability at the brand, as did Gucci collaborator and Harlem designer Dapper Dan. Last week, Gucci announced similar diversity initiatives, including a full scholarship program to increase diversity within their creative departments.
In addition to advising the internal processes within Prada’s organization, Prada and the council will partner with universities and organizations to spearhead internship and apprenticeship initiatives in what they describe as “diverse communities” to “close the inclusion gap in the fashion industry.” Prada will also work with the council to sponsor scholarships and training programs in the United States and in every Prada office worldwide.
Miuccia Prada wrote in a 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.
“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,” added Gates. “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.”
It’s encouraging to see major brands like Gucci and Prada make an effort to get to the root of the problem and lay the groundwork for long-lasting change. We’ll see where it leads.