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Prada apologises for 'blackface' products after backlash

OUTRAGE: Prada (Photo credit: Chinyere Ezie)

PRADA HAS issued an apology after being called out for using blackface imagery on products in a new collection.

On Thursday (Dec 13), lawyer Chinyere Ezie spotted figurines in a Prada shop window in Soho, New York that resembled golliwog dolls which are historically known for their racist depictions of black people, with dark skin and large, red lips.

Ezie expressed her disgust on social media, sharing photos of the figures from the Italian fashion house’s window display and from within the store.

“Today after returning to NYC after a very emotional visit to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American history and Culture including an exhibit on blackface, I walked past Prada’s Soho storefront only to be confronted with the very same racist and denigrating #blackface imagery,” she wrote on Facebook.

She explained that she then entered the store with a colleague, only to see several more examples of blackface.

Since sharing the images across social media, many have criticised the Italian fashion brand calling for immediate removal of the figurines.

One user wrote: “Absolutely disgraceful! If Prada has a fb page, let's bombard them with contempt,” while another said: “Truly despicable. Most of my family was exterminated for racist reasons, so I know first-hand how much this hurts.”

Ezie added that if Prada had more diversity within the company, incidences like this would not occur. She tweeted: “Let @Prada know that #diversitymatters and that black and brown employees need to be in leadership positions so disgraces like this one never happen again #Stopblackface #EndRacismNow.”

Prada has since issued an apology, adding that the products in question have been removed from their “Pradamalia” collection.

The statement reads” “#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 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.

“#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.”

Prada isn’t the only fashion brand to face accusations of racism. Dolce & Gabbana recently came under fire for an advertising campaign that was deemed racist by Chinese celebrities. The ad, featured a Chinese woman struggling to eat spaghetti and pizza with chopsticks. Additionally, creative director Stefano Gabbana appeared to make a reference to “China Ignorant Dirty Smelling Mafia” and used the smiling poop emoji to describe the country, in a series of leaked Instagram messages.

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