Prada has responded to criticism that its “Pradamalia” monkey was inspired by Blackface with a letter of apology to Chinyere Ezie, the attorney who called out the company on Facebook on Thurdsay (December 13, 2018) when she spotted the merchandise prominently featured in its SoHo store window.
In the letter, the company thanked Ezie for bringing the monkey to its attention: “The resemblance of items to blackface was by no means intentional but we recognize this does not excuse the damage they have caused.”
Prada added it would improve diversity training and add an advisory council to guide our efforts on diversity, inclusion and culture. “Everyone at our company from the creative directors to the store managers work hard to exceed our customers’ expectations every day–which makes this reflection on our company all the more hurtful,” read the letter.
Prada also noted it would make a donation to New York-based organization committed to fighting for racial justice.
Prada has a patchy at best history when it comes to representation of black people. Starting with casting, the label once went 15 years casting no black runway models between Naomi Campbell walking in 1993 and Jourdan Dunn in 2008. In ads, there was a near 20-year gap between Campbell fronting a campaign in 1994 and Malaika Firth in 2013.
However, even though Prada is now casting more black women, we have long said all fashion companies need to include more people of color in decision-making positions. It won’t guarantee the end of race-related fiascoes but it will absolutely reduce them.
Check out the letter below.