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Is Prada a luxury brand?

  • By: Rena Tatton
  • Date: September 12, 2022
  • Time to read: 7 min.

Is Prada a luxury brand?

Prada is a leading Italian luxury brand, offering the finest clothing, accessories, and fragrances.

Indeed, some of the luxury items from Prada are treated as artworks and exhibited in well-known museums around the world. So, you may be asking: what is behind the name Prada?

The Prada brand was born in 1913, with the opening of the first Prada store in Milan, Italy.

The label owes its name to the previous tenant of its Milan venue: an English cloth merchant called Mr. Prada.

The brand became renowned for its knack for re-working luxurious fabrics and expert craftsmanship.

Whilst its footwear line was launched in 1978, it wasn’t until the 1990s that it garnered worldwide acclaim and redefined the concept of a modern luxury style icon.

Not only was Prada a family business, but the Prada family was also an active feminist organization.

Mario Prada excluded his female relatives from working for his company.

However, his first daughter, Luisa Prada, took over the family business as Mario’s successor and ran it for almost twenty years.

 

Mario Prada

Mario Prada
Mario Prada

Mario Prada and his brother Martino opened a leather goods shop, in 1913 in Milan

Miuccia Prada

Miuccia Prada
Miuccia Prada

Miuccia Prada was the first female in the family to join the family business

Miuccia Prada created waterproof backpacks out of Pocono, a nylon fabric.

In 1978, with sales at $450,000, Miuccia inherited Prada from her father, and appointed Patrizio Bertelli as business manager.

She met Patrizio Bertelli in 1977, who had his own leather goods business and joined the company soon after.

He advised Miuccia on company business, which she followed.

He advised her to discontinue importing English goods as it would hurt the image of the brand and change the existing luggage.

She was allowed time to implement ideas and designs that would transform Prada.

Muccia has increased sales by over 20x, making it one of the leading fashion houses in the world.

Prada launched its own New York headquarters with the help of Miuccia.

 
Prada HQ Newyork
Prada HQ New York

Miuccia and Bertelli

Galleria-vittorio-emanuele
Galleria vittorio emanuele

Miuccia and Bertelli sought out wholesale accounts for their bags in upscale department stores worldwide including the Corso Venezia in Milan.

In 1983, Prada opened a second store in the center of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, just steps away from their first.

This store was a delicate balance between the original boutique’s minimalism and elegance, while also reflecting a more modern feeling.

Prada Stores

Video Playlist
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Prada Shopping Vlog / Come ship with me in Prada / Luxury Shopping Vlog Prada / Arizona Scottsdale
Prada Shopping Vlog / Come ship with me in Prada / Luxury Shopping Vlog Prada / Arizona Scottsdale
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PRADA MILANO | AFFORDABLE PRADA | OUTLET BAGS | SOME PRICES I'VE GOT ARE SHOWN | SO TEMPTING
PRADA MILANO | AFFORDABLE PRADA | OUTLET BAGS | SOME PRICES I'VE GOT ARE SHOWN | SO TEMPTING
3
PRADA OUTLET & VERSACE OUTLET SHOPPING VLOG | Come Outlet Shopping With Me | Laine’s Reviews
PRADA OUTLET & VERSACE OUTLET SHOPPING VLOG | Come Outlet Shopping With Me | Laine’s Reviews
4
THE BIGGEST ‘PRADA’ Store In ITALY🇮🇹
THE BIGGEST ‘PRADA’ Store In ITALY🇮🇹

Nylon Tote

The next big thing was a nylon tote.

The collection was designed around product, not marketing, according to Miuccia Prada.

Women wanted something they could carry all day long, that would withstand everyday life and still look stylish.

The same year, the house of Prada began expansion across continental Europe and the United States.

In 1985 Miuccia released the “classic Prada handbag” that became an overnight sensation.

Prada’s tote became an overnight sensation when it was released in 1984.

The classic handbag has a luxury that is still present in the brand today, despite being released over 30 years ago.

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By 1987, Miuccia and Bertelli had already been married for many years.

They launched their women’s ready-to-wear collection in 1989, and the designs quickly became known for their dropped waistlines and narrow belts.

Prada’s brand is not as obvious as other labels, but it has thrived on its clean lines and opulent fabrics.

Corporate integrity is strong, so consumers can safely invest in the label.

Miu Miu

Prada launched the high fashion brand Miu Miu in 1992, named after Miuccia’s nickname and designed by Miuccia.

The range was to be a more youthful and cheaper line. and made a major mark on the fashion industry.

Celebrities such as Madonna, Courtney Love, and Liv Tyler dressed in this range

Mui Mui
Mui Mui

Men's ready-to-wear collections 1990's

Prada launched their Men’s ready to wear collections in the mid-1990s.

By now the house has won two awards from CFDA and operates in over 40 locations worldwide, with 20 of those being in Japan and a flagship store of 18,000 feet in Manhattan.

Prada designs and produces men’s clothing in the most prestigious fashion cities around the world, including Milan, Tokyo and New York.

They are the only brand that has their own stores located in Paris, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston and Las Vegas.

Prada Flagship Store Manhatton
Prada Flagship Store Manhatton

1996 Ugly Chic

Prada’s 1996 autumn/winter show was a turning point in the history of fashion.

This distinctive moment marked the start of Fashion that customers hate because they think it is ugly.

It then reveals to be daring and original, which we think offers a new perspective on how fashion affects our subconscious desires.

Gucci

Gucci Logo
Gucci

In 1997, Prada posted revenue of $674 million.

Another store in Milan opened the same year. According to the Wall Street Journal, Bertelli smashed the windows of the store a day before its opening, after he had become deeply unsatisfied with the set-up.

He also acquired shares in the Gucci group, and later blamed Gucci for “aping his wife’s designs.” In June 1998, Bertelli gained 9.5% return on investment at $260 million.

Analysts began to speculate that he was attempting a take over of the Gucci group.

With a 10% stake in Gucci, Prada stood to profit big time should anyone try to take over Gucci. However, Bertelli sold his shares.

Prada is an Italian luxury fashion house. Prada has the largest market share in Italy, and one of the largest in the world.

Gucci was founded by Guccio Gucci in Florence in 1921.

 

Aquisitons and Growth

Prada began making acquisitions for the purpose of establishing a portfolio of luxury brands.

Prada purchased 51% of Helmut Lang’s company based in New York for US$40 million in March 1999.

Months later, Prada paid US$105 million to have full control of Jil Sander A.G., a German-based company with annual revenue of US$100 million.

The purchase gained Prada a foothold in Germany, Church & Company, an English shoes maker, also came under the control of Prada, when Prada bought 83% of the company for US$170 million.

A joint venture between Prada and the De Rigo group was also formed that year to produce Prada eyewear.

In October 1999, Prada joined with LVMH and beat Gucci to buy a 51% stake in the Rome-based Fendi S.p.A.

Fendis 2000

This is a major change for Prada.

The merger with Fendi was one of the most important in Prada’s history, and it was a significant part of the company’s growth.

That’s why we are not just discussing it, but also discussing what happened afterwards and what we have done to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

The Prada Foundation has done a great job organizing projects that protect the environment and contribute to society in general, but things are more complicated than they seem if you take a closer look at the details.

In 2001, under the pressure of his bankers, Bertelli sold all of Prada’s 25.5% share in Fendi to LVMH.

The sale raised only US$295 million—not nearly enough to repay debts of over US$850 million that had accumulated during the merger.

So instead of selling everything and giving Fendi back to LVMH as originally planned, Bertelli separated Prada from Fendi and changed its focus towards higher value products like fashion ready-to-wear clothes and handbags.

The CEO said he did not want his personal fortune to be used as collateral for loans or loans paid by cash flow generated by Fendi shares (which were held in trust).

Fendi
Fendi Logo

Church & Company

Church Shoes Logo
Church Shoes

The Fendi debt that Prada has been struggling to recover from for the past four years does not seem to be slowing down the company.

More recently, a 45% stake of the Church & Company brand was sold to Equinox.

DESA

Prada, LLC. is the main buyer from the Turkish leather factory DESA, which was found guilty by the Turkish Supreme Court of illegally dismissing workers who joined a union.

The Clean Clothes Campaign, a labour rights organisation based in Europe, has called on Prada to ensure that freedom of association is respected at the factory.

Prada has stated that it has taken all necessary measures to fix the labour violations at the DESA factory in Turkey.

DESA Logo
DESA

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

 According to PETA and a recent report in The New York Times, Prada, along with other luxury fashion brands, utilises ostrich leather in their products.

Ostrich leather is produced by killing wild, flightless birds.

In the 2020'S

Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli of the fashion house announced in February 2020 that Belgian designer Raf Simons would be co-creative director of their fashion company. 

By August 2020, the company announced it was no longer using kangaroo leather in its products.

Raf Simons
Raf Simons - Co Creative Director

Conclusion

With its distinct images, recognisable logo and bold choices of color, materials and patterns, the brand has developed a signature style that is instantly recognisable.

The Prada aesthetic incorporates innovative lines which merge a variety of cultural influences into inventive works of art.

According to Forbes, at the time of writing Miuccia Prads net worth is $3.9.Billion Dollars

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