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Theaster Gates and Ava DuVernay to Co-Chair Prada’s New Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council

Theaster Gates in Bristol, England, in 2015.

SIMON CHAPMAN/LNP/SHUTTERSTOCK

Prada has created a Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council that will be co-chaired by artist Theaster Gates and filmmaker Ava DuVernay. The formation of the council follows accusations of racism against the fashion house in December after “Pradamalia” figurines were released with a design that evoked blackface imagery. The pieces were pulled and Prada issued a statement saying the company “abhors racist imagery” while pledging to expand in-house diversity training.

Miuccia Prada, co-chief executive of the brand, released a joint statement with Patrizio Bertelli, lead creative director, reading, “Prada is committed to cultivating, recruiting, and retaining diverse talent to contribute to all departments of the company. 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 longtime collaborators Ava DuVernay and Theaster Gates on this important initiative.”

The council will work toward goals for diversifying the fashion industry, with a stated purpose to “examine processes and advise on tactical and strategic approaches to inclusion.” Gates, who created a site-specific intervention at a “Prada Mode” event at last year’s Art Basel Miami Beach art fair and has shown work at the Fondazione Prada in Milan, stated, “My work amplifies the voices that have been absent from broad cultural conversations, and I am happy to partner with Prada to advise on processes that will make the company and industry more reflective of the world today.”

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