Designer label Prada will now force all of its American employees to undergo “racial sensitivity training,” appoint a New York City-approved “diversity and inclusion officer” to screen its designs for potential social justice faults, and report back to the New York City Commission on Human Rights to ensure it is diversifying its American team after the brand ran afoul of social justice warriors with a “racially insensitive” window display in 2018.
The NYC Commission on Human Rights which “oversees the enforcement of the city’s human rights laws in housing and retail,” according to NBC News, announced the agreement Wednesday, marking the first time an international brand has been “held responsible for its imagery.”
The issue goes back to 2018 when Prada’s downtown New York City store had a front window display that featured “racist and denigrating blackface imagery,” including a set of dolls that appeared to be wearing minstrel makeup. Inside the store, one woman who posted photos of the display to Facebook said, Prada was plastered with clearly racist imagery.
I don’t make a lot of public posts, but right now I’m shaking with anger. Today after returning to NYC after a very…
Prada immediately issued an apology.
“We would like to convey our deep regret and sincere apologies for the Pradamalia products that were offensive,” they said, calling the incident a learning experience. But the woman who posted the photos went on to make a complaint to the NYC Commission on Human Rights, triggering an investigation and, ultimately, a contract with Prada forcing it to submit to change its practices altogether — even going so far as to mandate that the luxury label submit its designs to a commission-approved diversity officer in advance of selling them in the United States.
“The company will put all New York store employees—and company executives in Milan—through racial sensitivity training,” Reason Magazine reported. “Prada will also appoint a diversity and inclusion officer, subject to the commission’s approval. This person will be tasked with ‘reviewing Prada’s designs before they are sold, advertised or promoted in any way in the United States,’ according to the terms of the agreement. Even The [New York] Times’ reporter found this to be a fairly absurd requirement—’Given the hundreds of products Prada creates every season, this is a pretty extraordinary task.'”
“A year after signing the agreement, Prada is required to tell the commission ‘the demographic make-up’ of its staff at every level, and summarize ‘Prada’s past and future activities aimed at increasing the number of people from protected classes under-represented in the fashion industry,'” according to The New York Times article referenced in the Reason piece.
The NYC Commission is working on a similar agreement with Gucci, according to reports, and believes the entire fashion industry may need state supervision and control: “I don’t know that we realized previously so many major fashion houses had this ignorance of the history of racism in this country,” one of the body’s commissioners told the New York Times. “We hope companies realize they need to be very careful about how they market and advertise—that they need to have a larger social and cultural consciousness.”
Or else they’ll be forced to submit to the authority of New York City, apparently.