Prada Removing Animal Charms Decried as Racist

Prada - outside of a store - Getty-H 2018
Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Images surfaced on Thursday of the Prada store in SoHo, Manhattan, with dark-colored, monkey-like figurines with large red lips, which were likened to blackface.

Prada has found itself in hot water for selling products that some are likening to blackface. On Friday, Prada began removing the animal charms considered to be racist from its stores and website.

Images surfaced on Thursday of the Prada store in SoHo, Manhattan, with dark-colored, monkey-like figurines with large red lips. The “Pradamalia” charms include a leather card holder ($280), leather key chain trick ($550) and leather mini-bag ($750). Pradamalia is described on the Prada website as the Italian house's "new family of mysterious creatures" named Disco, Socks, Fiddle, Otto, Toto, Scuba and Spot.

Some items were still for sale on the Prada website as of Friday at 9:30 a.m. PT, though the company told The Hollywood Reporter at 8 a.m. that it would pull the characters. 

A Prada Group spokesperson told THR on Friday: “Prada Group abhors racist imagery. The Pradamalia are fantasy charms composed of elements of the Prada oeuvre. They are imaginary creatures not intended to have any reference to the real world and certainly not blackface. We abhor all forms of racism and racist imagery. We will withdraw all of the characters in question from display and circulation.”

The controversial line comes after H&M debuted a black child model wearing a green sweatshirt reading, "Coolest Monkey in the Jungle." The listing was altered and photo removed.

In a keynote panel at the Teen Vogue Summit on Dec. 1, designer Prabal Gurung and Teen Vogue editor-in-chief Lindsay Peoples Wagner discussed how such insensitive errors can arise in fashion; they pointed to not having diverse people "with a seat at the table," Gurung said, in decision-making positions. 

Peoples Wagner said she's been to many shoots and meetings where an "offensive" idea had already gone through 30 people's approval before she shuts it down.

"A lot of times there just aren't the right people in the room, because literally every single time that's happened I've said if someone would have asked me, I would have said, 'Hey don't put a monkey sweatshirt on a little black boy. Like come on.' But I think a lot of times it's really honestly not the right people in the room. It's everyone hiring their friends and their friends' friends, and not actually saying, 'We need somebody that has a different opinion here.' And unfortunately nepotism is real in fashion."