Prada taps Ava DuVernay to co-chair Diversity and Inclusion council


Prada has enlisted film director Ava Duvernay and artist/activist Theaster Gates to join its Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council following accusations of racism.

The Italian couture house, which is headed by designer Miuccia Prada, announced its decision to set up an advisory council “to guide our efforts on diversity, inclusion and culture” after being called out for their 2018 Pradamalia collection which featured monkeys with exaggerated red lips and drew comparisons to blackface caricatures.

Prada said in a statement on Wednesday (13Feb19) that the Selma filmmaker and Gates will chair the council, and the group will work to develop “diverse talent” and create more opportunities for students of colour.

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,” Gates said of the project, reports WWD. “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.”

In the wake of the scandal, Prada pulled the imagery from circulation and issued an apology.
As well as tackling its internal issues through its new program, the company hopes to reach colleges and organisations and build internships and apprenticeships in “diverse communities”.

Prada is committed to cultivating, recruiting and retaining diverse talent to contribute to all departments of the company,” the company said in a statement. “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.”

The program will be rolled out in the U.S. and every Prada office worldwide.

Fashion house Gucci has recently faced similar accusations and it moved to create diversity initiatives and scholarships this week, in a bid to bring inclusiveness to all creative teams, including collaborator and established Harlem designer Dapper Dan.