After facing recent backlash over selling monkey-faced keychains that many saw as a emulating historically racist blackface, Prada is attempting to do public relations damage control by aligning itself with one of Hollywood’s most powerful black women, Ava Duvernay.
In a press release, Prada Group announced that DuVernay “will co-chair the Prada Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council (“the Council”) to elevate voices of color within the company and the fashion industry at-large.”
The company also announced that artist and activist, Theaster Gates, will also serves on the council.
“Prada is committed to cultivating, recruiting, and retaining diverse talent to contribute to all departments of the company,” said Miuccia Prada, CEO and lead creative director at Prada in the press release.
“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 is one of the fashion brands that have come under fire for what critics say are racially-insensitive and sometimes outright racist imagery associated with their fashion collections. Fashion house Gucci ignited a firestorm recently by selling a black balaclava sweater that many say bears the racist emblem of the black Sambo caricature.
And Burberry recently apologized after a model walked the runway wearing a hoodie featuring a noose during its London Fashion Week show.
“My work amplifies the voices that have been absent from broad cultural conversations, and I am happy to partner with Prada to advise on processes that will make the company and industry more reflective of the world today,” said Theaster Gates via the press release.