The Prada Group has announced a series of talent and educational initiatives aimed at intensifying its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion within the company and the fashion industry as a whole.
Prada said that it is committing “substantial” investment to increase representation within the industry, starting with internship and mentorship programmes. The first is a partnership with the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) to develop scholarships focused exclusively on aspiring fashion industry professionals and undergraduate students of colour in the United States and Africa.
Prada will offer a scholarship to a top-performing, diverse American student pursuing a fashion career, as well as a top-performing female student from Ghana or Kenya. Both scholarships will cover full tuition, as well as room and board for their respective AAS (Associate of Applied Science) and BA (Bachelor’s Degree) programme. The scholarship recipients will be mentored by industry leaders and have the opportunity to work at Prada Group. The first scholarships will be awarded for enrolment in autumn 2021.
There will also be a Generation Prada Internship offering paid experience for diverse talent, providing hands-on opportunities across Prada Group’s corporate and retail teams. The Group will work with various organisations to attract and recruit a diverse set of applicants. This internship has been designed to equip the next generation of leaders with professional development experiences and enhance the pipeline for diverse talent.
Prada Group developing talent and educational initiatives to increase diversity within the industry
In addition, the luxury fashion house is working closely with the United Nations Population Fund, to develop an educational fashion module to promote gender equality in Africa, initially launching in Ghana and Kenya. The programme will be developed for and with young women in Kenya and Ghana to empower them socially and economically through using fashion and design as a tool to affect social change and promote gender equality.
As part of its plan to elevate more emerging designers, Prada said that it will also collaborate with its diversity and inclusion advisory co-chair, artist, social innovator, and founder of Rebuild Foundation, Theaster Gates, to create a three-year design lab for diverse designers and artists in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.
Each cohort will work on defined projects and the design lab will act as a space of exchange and training for future designers and creatives. Each year, the Prada Group will award a grant to an artist or designer to encourage their practice and allow them to launch a capsule of their choosing in the space.
Malika Savell, chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer for Prada North America, said in a statement: “Prada Group is taking real and significant actions that will expand career and professional opportunities for people of colour in the fashion industry.
“We recognise the barriers to entering the fashion industry and the importance of representation, so we want to develop many new programmes that will advance and mentor aspiring fashion professionals, while investing in the next generation of diverse talent.”
Lorenzo Bertelli, Prada Group head of marketing and head of corporate social responsibility, added: “We are extremely proud of these programmes, which reflect Prada Group’s commitment to cultivating, recruiting and retaining diverse talent and to creating an inclusive culture.
“These initiatives mark real progress, and we look forward to building on this momentum to create more opportunities that increase diversity and representation both within Prada and in the fashion industry today and in the future.”