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Prada founds diversity ‘council’ after row

By AAP Newswire

Italian brand Prada says it will form a diversity council to "elevate voices of colour within the company and fashion industry at large," a move that follows accusations of racism in the luxury fashion world.

Two Americans, artist Theaster Gates and film director Ava DuVernay, will chair the council. The group will work to develop "diverse talent" and create more opportunities for students of colour, the fashion house said.

Prada apologised in December and immediately withdrew bag charms that resembled black monkeys with exaggerated red lips.

Critics said the charms recalled the blackface caricatures that long propagated racist stereotypes in the United States.

The controversy intensified after a similar misstep this month by Gucci. Another prominent African-American director, Spike Lee, said he would wear neither Prada nor Gucci until they included black designers.

"Prada is committed to cultivating, recruiting and retaining diverse talent to contribute to all departments of the company," chief executive Miuccia Prada said.

She said the initiative would "help us grow not only as a company, but also as individuals."