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Prada sets up diversity council after racism row

CONTROVERSY: Prada

PRADA HAS announced that it will form an advisory council to address issues around diversity and inclusion.

The news of the council follows backlash faced by the Italian brand after it was accused of racism and using blackface imagery in their recent collection.

The controversy began when 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.

Since Ezie’s post went viral, with many calling to boycott the brand, Prada released an initial response to the allegations on Friday, explaining that it would pull the imagery from circulation and displays.

“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 brand stated.

“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.”

In a tweet on Sunday, the brand expanded on its initial response and outlined steps on their plans to move forward.

“At Prada, we are committed to creating products that celebrate the diverse fashion and beauty of cultures around the world. We would like to convey our deep regret and sincere apologies for the Pradamalia products that were offensive,” the post read.

“Going forward, we pledge to improve our diversity training and will immediately form an advisory council to guide our efforts on diversity, inclusion and culture. will learn from this and do better.”

In addition to forming the advisory council, Prada announced it would re-examine the processes that had led the products to come to market in the first place and have decided to donate proceeds from the products sold to a New York-based charity specialising in racial justice.

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