Prada makes a pledge to improve inclusion for people with disabilities

The fashion company has joined The Valuable 500, an international coalition that promotes the needs of disabled people

The fashion industry has taken some (albeit long-overdue) steps to promote inclusion for people with disabilities over the past few years. 2020 alone saw Aaron Philip score a major Moschino campaign and Ellie Goldstein front a groundbreaking campaign for Gucci Beauty, while in 2017 Tommy Hilfiger launched an adaptive clothing collection. Now, Prada is also taking steps to improve its inclusivity.

The first of those steps has seen it become the first luxury fashion company to join The Valuable 500, a worldwide initiative that aims to transform businesses to address the needs of people with disabilities. As part of the initiative, Prada Group – which encompasses Prada, Miu Miu, Church’s, and Car Shoe – pledges to include disabilities on its board agenda, to make a firm commitment for action, and to share its commitments both publicly and internally.

According to The Valuable 500 website, Prada’s specific commitment is yet to be submitted, but it is reportedly developing a long-term programme of activities, which will begin with hiring staff with Down’s syndrome in its Italian stores.

“The Valuable 500 community, which embraces a wide range of industries worldwide, is becoming stronger every day,” says Lorenzo Bertelli, Prada’s head of corporate social responsibility, in a statement. “I actively support the decision to join the coalition as I believe strongly in the value of diversity. The different backgrounds of the companies adhering to the alliance is a crucial starting point to build a comprehensive global action plan, which will enrich all of us.”

“Prada’s commitment to The Valuable 500 as the first luxury fashion group is historic,” adds the founder of the initiative, Caroline Casey. “Leaders such as Prada have the power to elevate and reframe the way that society thinks about disability. We cannot underestimate what a watershed moment this is.”

Launched in 2019, The Valuable 500 aims to receive commitments to include people with disabilities from 500 multinational corporations (as of March 6, it’s received a reported 437 signatures). It goes without saying that fashion still has a long, long way to go, but Prada’s inclusion on the list feels like a step in the right direction.