Black Women & Designer Labels: What is the Prada look and why is the label so controversial?


Prada has been in the press lately, because of two pieces: one feature by the Wall Street Journal magazine covering Miuccia Prada and her husband (and also Prada CEO Patrizio Bertelli) rise to the top. Another article by the Telegraph talks about how one Prada CEO in Japan allegedly ordered a manager to fire ‘old, fat and disgusting people who didn’t have the Prada look’.

If you get a chance to read some of the articles, like I did, I’d love to hear what you think. The one key theme I learned from both pieces was that essentially Prada, like any other brand, wants to stay a covetable brand. You cannot ‘fire’ people because you do not think they have the Prada look though, so I will be interested to see how this lawsuit pans out.

My question to you and any other fashion heads is, what do you think of labels like Prada that have a track record of not including black, Asian women in their catwalk shows or their editorial advertisements? I am very curious because while I love fashion, Prada has never been a massive ‘I love brand’ for me personally, but I do like Miuccia’s hard work ethic and creativity which created such a huge brand.

I am not saying black women or Asian women should stop buying a certain brand because they don’t feature models of colour, but I don’t know if I agree with Prada’s image now after having read the first behind-the-scenes feature by WSJ. Prada for me has always symbolised a classic take on fashion, which is cool for its’ target market, but it has never been something that I have particularly found interesting.

What I do like to know though is the business behind fashion. I don’t think that Prada don’t use black/ethnic models will hurt the brand because it has already built its’ reputation. But as fashion markets want to expand into growing emerging markets with a large class of people with lots of disposable income, i.e. South Africa, Egypt and Morocco, I just do not think there is time to have the same attitude of lack of inclusivity with things.

I’d love to hear what you all think. Edit: I should have mentioned before that while Prada’s clothes do nothing for me, I find the palette boring, I do like the fragrances.

Required Reading: Jezebel’s take on Prada & their lack of black models

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One thought on “Black Women & Designer Labels: What is the Prada look and why is the label so controversial?

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