Controversial Prada window display
Source: Chinyere Ezie
The New York City Commission on Human Rights reached a settlement with Prada USA over a merchandise display that the Commission said used “racist iconography.”
The window display was featured at a Prada store in downtown Manhattan in December 2018. Used to showcase items from the luxury retailer’s “Pradamalia” collection, the display included monkey figurines that the Commission said evoked images of Sambo, a racist caricature used to dehumanize black people.
As part of the settlement, announced Wednesday by the Commission, Prada will have to invest in efforts that combat racism and promote diversity and inclusion.
The retailer must require all of its New York employees and Milan executives to complete racial equity training. It will also establish a scholarship program for students from backgrounds historically underrepresented in fashion. Prada must hire an executive-level diversity and inclusion officer, as well.
“The measures Prada has committed to have far-reaching implications for the fashion industry as a whole,” said Sapna V. Raj, deputy commissioner of the law enforcement bureau of the New York City Commission on Human Rights, in a press release.
Prada has experienced controversy over racism in the past. In 2018, it pulled an accessory line featuring a character with brown skin and large red lips that people said resembled blackface.
The company did not immediately respond to request for comment on Wednesday’s announcement.