Miuccia Prada’s Take on Freedom of Speech, Cultural Appropriation

SPEAKING FREELY: Miuccia Prada is one of fashion’s most intense and thought-provoking designers. She challenges herself, surrounded by artists and intellectuals and, during interviews, ponders the answers and often throws in more of her own questions. On Sunday, ahead of her fall men’s show in Milan, the designer candidly approached the subject of cultural appropriation and freedom of speech — and of thought — clearly issues that have been top-of-mind after recent accusations of racism against the brand, which her company has vehemently denied.
In December, Prada faced online accusations that animal-like figurines and charms in its stores and windows evoked blackface. The group subsequently issued a statement saying it “abhors racist imagery” and vowed to withdraw the items from “display and circulation,” while explaining that the figures are “fantasy charms composed of elements of the Prada oeuvre” and known as Pradamalia. The brand nonetheless pledged to improve its “diversity training.”
“I increasingly think anything one does today can cause offense,” Miuccia Prada said Sunday, speaking in soft tones, at the headquarters of the cultural Fondazione Prada. “There can sometimes be a lack of generosity but, on the other hand, how can we know all cultures? The Chinese protest, then the Sikh,

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