“Be seen, be heard”


Few fashion brands are quite so synonymous with fashion royalty as Italian luxury brand Prada. Since it was founded in Milan in 1913, Prada has grown from a favourite of the Italian nobility to a global empire worth €5.8 billion in January 2022.

Mission Statement

“We offer an unconventional dialogue and interpretation of the contemporary, as expression of our way of doing business for planet, people and culture.”


“Be drivers of change.”


How did it all start? Prada was founded in 1913 when Mario Prada and his brother Martino opened a leather goods store in Milan. Initially, it retailed handbags, travel bags and accessories. In 1919, Prada obtained the titled of Official Supplier of The Italian Royal House.  This recognition allows Prada to display the coat of arms and knotted rope design in its trademark logo.

Mario’s son had no interest in the business and his daughter Luisa helmed Prada as his successor, for twenty odd years. Luisa’s daughter, Miuccia Prada, joined the company in 1970. With new creative blood at the helm, “Prada quietly became the go-to brand for the creative class and fashion intelligentsia”, writes Vogue archive editor Laird Borelli-Person. Miuccia’s first hit as a designer was a departure from her house’s classic leather goods: a backpack made of industrial nylon. It became a status symbol of the era and was a turning point in the history of the luxury brand which Miuccia inherited in 1978 at a time when sales were reported U.S. $450,000.

At that time, Miuccia met her future husband Patrizio Bertelli, who owned a leather goods business; he joined the company as business manager. There was no looking back. Prada expanded beyond luxury luggage, steamer trunks and handbags. In 1985, the anti-luxury accessories, i.e. the nylon handbag and backpack, became it-bags. A footwear line was released in 1984. The following year, the “classic Prada handbag” was unveiled. Miuccia Prada’s ready-to-wear line debuted in 1989 and then she launched the less expensive ‘Miu Miu’ label inspired by her own wardrobe. In 1993 she and Bertelli founded Prada Foundation, a nonprofit organisation that supports up-and-coming designers, including architects and artists. In the same year, the fashion conglomerated debuted menswear and in 1997 released a line of activewear, “Prada Sport”, later renamed “Red Line”.

Miuccia Prada challenges pre-established aesthetics, surrounded by artists and intellectuals. With her at the helm, classics are taken apart and re-examined in her continual search for something fresh, creative and avant-garde. Her progressive ideals are reflected in iconic designs including intricately embellished cardigans; Geisha dress; streetstyle corset; bralette worn over a shirt; silk turban; conceptual stiletto. Subsequently, she was awarded Council of Fashion Designers of America International Award and showed her collections in New York and London.


Miuccia Prada and Bertelli merged their companies to create Prapar B.V. in 1996. This, however, was later renamed Prada B.V. and Patrizio Bertelli was named CEO. The duo transformed it into a reported $11.4 billion enterprise, expanding into leather goods, footwear, fragrance and apparel. Prolific acquisitions include Helmut Lang Alaia and Jil Sander and a stake in fashion brands such as Fendi. However, there were rocky days ahead. Facing debt, Prada and Bertelli liquidated their acquisitions and June 24, 2011 witnessed Prada Spa (HKSE code: 1913) listing twenty per cent of its shares on the Hong Kong stock exchange, where the company was valued at €9.2 billion.

Per the official website, ‘The Group’s products are manufactured in 21 company-owned sites, 18 of which are located in Italy, 1 in United Kingdom, 1 in France, and 1 in Romania and by a network of long-standing and highly experienced contractors. Each stage of the production process is directly monitored and controlled: from the selection to the purchase of raw materials (including external suppliers), from the fabrication of prototypes, to the planning and coordination of in-house and outsourced production. As of December 31st, 2017, the Group’s distribution network extends across 70 countries, counting 625 Directly Operated Stores, brand’s e-commerce, a selection of luxury department stores and retailers in the most prestigious and exclusive locations and the most important e-tailers.

Throughout the years, the Group has expanded its distribution network counting – as of December 31st, 2017 – 625 Directly Operated Stores in the most prestigious locations of the main international shopping destinations, consistently with the image, heritage and exclusivity of each brand. This extended network is an actual asset for the Group, as it represents an important showcase for the launch of new collections as well as an essential vehicle to establish a contact with customers. Stores transcend their primary function of selling, serving also as an important tool of communication and customer assistance. They consistently narrate the image of each brand and allow a continuous dialogue as well as providing services that protect the products’ quality and durability over time. The wholesale channel (department stores, multi-brand, franchise stores and e-tailers) guarantees an additional number of stores selected according the exclusivity of the locations
in various markets allowing a direct and immediate comparison to competitors. The channel has been carefully reviewed during the past few years in order to implement the selection of stores, which have been considerably reduced consistently with the expansion of the retail expansion. The digital evolution of the Group led to the development of new partnerships with the major on-line retailers.’

As of March 2018, Prada’s sales were on an upward curve and stock reportedly jumped fourteen per cent. Stating Prada would be “focusing on innovative materials will allow the company to explore new boundaries of creative design while meeting the demand for ethical products” the brand announced in 2019 that fur would be eliminated from all collections the following year. In February 2020, Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli named Belgian fashion designer Raf Simons co-creative director, which essentially meant the two creative powerhouses would work together to reimagine the brand. The company released a statement, “Conceptually, it is also a new approach to the very definition of creative direction for a brand- a strong challenge to the idea of singularity of creative authorship- whilst also a bold reinforcement of the importance and power of creativity in a shifting cultural landscape.” The union will no doubt result in an upward curve on the balance sheet. A masterstroke for Prada.

However, according to the research data analyzed and gathered by Comprar Acciones, Prada Group swung to a $219 million loss in Q1 and Q2 2020. In order to minimise the losses, around seventy per cent of Prada’s stores closed. This led to a whopping seventy one per cent decrease in total wholesale sales in Q1 and Q2 2020. On the other hand, its sales in China sharply recovered since the end of March 2020 when its stores reopened for the public. By the end of Q2 2020, Prada registered a sixty per cent sales growth in China. Cut to present times. Malika Savell has come on board as Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer for Prada North America and is responsible for developing policies, strategies and programs to help ensure diverse representation of cultures and perspectives at all levels of the company. The Prada Group, committed to sustainable raw material sourcing, has also set an ambitious goal to achieve certified leather by 2023. Through membership with the Leather Working Group – the internationally recognized standard for responsible leather manufacturing – the Prada Group intends to further strengthen its commitment.

Key Team

Head Designer Miuccia Prada, Chairman Carlo Mazzi, CEO Patrizio Bertelli, CFO Alessandra Cozzani

Awards and Recognition

  • 1993: Council of Fashion Designers of America International Award
  • 1995: VH1 Fashion Award for Womenswear Designer of the Year
  • 1996: VH1 Fashion Award for Womenswear Designer of the Year
  • 1998: VH1 Fashion Award for Womenswear Designer of the Year
  • 2005: Named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People
  • 2006: Appointed “Officier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” by the French Ministry of Culture
  • 2010: Named McKim Medal Laureate for her achievements in fashion and business
  • 2013: International Designer of the Year at British Fashion Awards
  • 2014: Listed as 75th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes
  • 2015: WSJ Magazine Fashion Innovator of the Year Award
  • 2015: Knight of the Grand Cross
  • 2016: Glamour USA Woman of the Year Award