Prada: An Introduction to the Brand
Prada is an Italian luxury fashion brand that was created in Milan in 1913. The brand was founded by Mario Prada and the first store was opened in Galleria Vittorio Emmanuelle II. This initial store sold leather products including travel accessories, trunks, and bags. Today, Prada has 635 stores throughout 70 different countries and they carry many different fashion products, the most known being their purses.
Prada has a wide variety of different fashion products including:
- Lifestyle Accessories
Their bags are often the spotlight of the show and their most famous collections include:
- Prada Triangle
- Prada Galleria
- Prada Re-Edition
- Prada Cleo
- Prada Re-Edition 1995
- Prada Symbole
Prada also has a Red Line that is insipired by sports and technology and made of sustainable textile technologies. The Red Line products include:
- Clothing (including ski equipment)
Prada is the main brand of Prada Group, however the company has acquired many other subsidiaries throughout the years. The first one, Church’s, was acquired in 1999. Here is a full list of all the brands under Prada Group:
- Miu Miu
- Car Shoe
- Marchesi 1824
- Luna Rossa
1910s: The Birth of the Brand
The Prada brand was started by Mario Prada, Miuccia Prada’s grandfather, in 1913. He opened the first store in the fashion capital of Italy, Milan. This initial Prada store sold bags, trunks, and travel accessories.
In 1919, Prada became the official supplier of the Italian Royal House. This was the reason Prada quickly became a standard for Italian aristocracy and the upper-middle class. It also allowed the brand to display the House of Savory coat of arms and knotted rope design in the brand’s logo.
1970s: Miuccia Joins the Business
In the mid 1970s, Miuccia Prada joined her family business, Prada, and she focused on designing accessories for the brand.
In 1977 Micua Prada and Patrizio Bertelli joined forces and began to make Prada much more innovative. This is when all of the production cycle processes began to be monitored and standardized using strict criteria. This is crucial to maintain high quality and consistency throughout their products.
In 1979, Prada launched it’s first shoe collection. This was the brand’s first expansion of their product range.
1980s: Prada’s Expansion into Clothing
In 1983, Prada opened it’s first “Green Store” in Milan. This was the first of their network expansion that focused on a new light green asthetic, which soon became known as “Prada Green.” Following the Milan store, more opened in New York, Madrid, London, Paris, and Tokyo.
In 1988, Prada ventured to also making women’s clothing. The first collection was debuted on Milan’s catwalk.
1990s: Prada Goes International
In the early 1990s Prada began to develop internationally into the markets of the far East, China, Japan, and USA.
In 1993, Prada diversified it’s products further by launching a men’s clothing and shoe collection.
2000s: Prada Expands in the US
In 2002, Prada opened their first American headquarters in New York City.
In 2004, Prada entered the fragrance market and launched its first womens perfume line.
In 2005, Prada Marfa – a faux store in the middle of the Chihuahua Texas desert was opened.
In 2006, Prada launched their men’s fragrance collection.
In 2009, Prada Transformer was created. This is an innovative building made to host fashion, film, art, and culture exhibitions, screenings, and events.
2010s: Prada Begins Sustainabilities Efforts
In 2010, Prada began a collaboration with FAI (Italian National Trust) in order to work on artwork restorations in multiple Italian cities that inaugurated Prada stores.
In 2011, Prada S.p.A was listed on the Main Board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
In 2014, Pradasphere was inaugurated in London and Hong Kong.
In 2015, the new “Prada Galleria” was opened in Milan. It was created with retail space and exhibitions. The Galleria strengthened the relationship with the city of Milan and committed to restore the external facades of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Prada also launched an industrial investment plan to improve and reorganize the entire manufacturing process. This was done to preserve their artisanal know-how, support the technological development of the production processes, and improve the quality of the work environment.
In 2017, Prada unveiled the historic residence in Shanghai’s Rong Zhai district. It took 6 years to restore and is now used for cultural activities. Prada was also admitted to the Cooperative Complaince regime during this year.
In 2018 Prada had a year full of new innovations. They launched Prada Mode, Prada Cup, and a relaunch of Prada Linea Rossa. Prada Mode was a culture-themed event platform that included music, conversation, food, and fashion. Prada Cup is the trophy for the Challenfer Selection Series for the 36th America’s cup.
In 2019 Prada had a year full of sustainability and diversity & inclusion commitments. Prada committed to a Fur Free policy. They also signed with Credit Agricole Group which became the first Sustainability Linked Loan of the luxury goods loan. Additionally, they signed the Fashion Pact and launched their Re-Nylon project. Finally, Prada established the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council.
2020s: Prada Strengthens Their Sustainability Initiatives
In 2020, Prada North America welcomed their ew Cheif Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer and raised $514,453/€439,362 in a partnered auction with Sotheby’s. This money will be donated to UNESCO’s COVID-19 Glocal Education Coalition initiatives. Prada also started their series called “Possible Conversations” which are digital talks that explore culture, fashion, and life. Prada also heavily supported the Coronavirus emergency in many ways and they launched their “Sea Beyond” project. Finally, Raf Simon joined Miuccia Prada as a co-creative director f the Prada design office.
In 2021, Prada collaborated with LVMH and Cartier to found Aura Blockchain Consortium, which promotes transparency and traceability of product history and proof of authenticity. Prada also signed its third ESG loan with Unicredit and launched its second “sea Beyond” project. Lastly, Prada joined the Valuable 500, which is focused on putting disability on the business leadership agenda. The first program they are creating is hiring individuals affected with Down’s Syndrome into its Italian retail stores.
In 2022, Prada became a member of the Leather Working Group which is focused on the responsible sourcing of raw materials. They set an ambitious goal to achieve 100% certified leather by 2023. Prada also became a member of Textile Exchange, which is a nonprofit organization in the fiber and materials industry that leads companies to a purposeful production process from the very start of the supply chain.
The Pradasphere: The Inspiration Behind Prada
Pradasphere is an exhibition that Prada launched in London and Hong Kong. The central idea of the exhibit is to highlight the work of Miuccia Prada with an emphasis on her pioneering approach. The goal of it is to tell the stories behind inspirations, obsessions, and activities of the brand. These stories will be inclusive of the fashion, art, architecture, cinema, and sport aspects of Prada. To tell these stories, Pradasphere utilizes archive pieces, iconic accessories, the century-old history of Prada, and all of its special projects.
Prada signed the Fashion Pact which is a protocol for the commitment to work towards practical objectives in the sustainability of climate, biodiversity, and oceans.
Sustainability Linked Loan
Prada signed a loan with Crédit Agricole Group. This loan is the first Sustainability Linked Loan of the luxury goods industry, it is called the Sustainability Term Loan. It is a EUR 50m five-years term loan where interest rates can decrease if the company completed achievements of goals related to number of stores assigned of a LEED Gold or Platinum Certification; amount of training hours for the employees and the use of regenerated nylon for the production of goods.
Fur Free Policy
In collaboration with the Fur Free Alliance (FFA), which is a group of 50+ animal protection organizations in 40+ countries, Prada joined the alliance and committed to not use fur in their products.
Prada has made commitments to become more sustainable when it comes to the materials going into their products. To achieve these commitments they launched Re-Nylon, which is a project that will remake their iconic and extremely popular bags with a new regenerated nylon called ECONYL®️. This nylon is made through “the recycling and purification process of plastic waste that is collected from oceans, fishing nets, and textile fibre waste. The ECONYL®️ yarn is regenerated through a process of depolymerization and re-polymerisation and can be recycled indefinitely, with no loss of quality” (source). Since the launch of this project, this material has also been used to make clothing, footwear and accessories.
A Final Thought: Prada Has Found a Way to Stay Innovative While Sticking to Its Heritage and Helping Its Community
Prada has maintained it’s status and image through over a century. The company has reinvested some of its strategies to fit more sustainable goals and ideologies, but the company has also stood strong with it’s core values and has provided a lot of support to its home country. The sustainability measures of utilizing regenerated nylon, not using fur, and signing the Fashion Pact are all strong commitments to better their environmental impacts on the world. Prada helps and partners with Italy often. For example, during COVID, Prada had a lot of different initiatives to help the country with its struggle against the pandemic. Also, Prada funds the restoration of important buildings and art in Italy. Overall, Prada is a very diverse fashion luxury brand that launches innovative projects in many different areas while giving back to their community and keeping the history of their brand in tact.