Filmmaker, screenwriter, and activist, Ava DuVernay has always been on the frontlines of the fight against oppression, using films like 13th to address the racial injustices plaguing the black community, and her Twitter platform to support Colin Kaepernick's NFL protest and denounce "white privilege." Now, DuVernay is bringing her fight to the fashion world as the co-chair of Prada's Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council.
Following a wave of backlash after releasing keychains that evoked racist imagery, Prada is launching a diversity council with Ava DuVernay and Theaster Gates at the helm in an effort to "elevate voices of color within the company and the fashion industry at-large," according to a press release. DuVernay and Gates will assist the Italian luxury house as it "invests in diverse talent development and expands opportunities for young students of color in the fashion industry."
Part of Prada's new initiative includes teaming up with a number of universities and colleges to bridge the diversity gap in the fashion industry by creating internship opportunities, sponsorships, and training programs at Prada offices in the US and worldwide.
“Prada is committed to cultivating, recruiting and retaining diverse talent to contribute to all departments of the company,” Miuccia Prada, chief executive officer and lead creative director at Prada, said in a statement. “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's announcement comes after Gucci recently came under fire for releasing a balaclava turtleneck that resembled blackface. Gucci has since removed the turtleneck and reached out to Dapper Dan (whom they collaborated with on a capsule collection inspired by Dan's archive) to resolve the issue.