Prada is facing a fury of backlash online for its latest collection featuring characters many are calling racist.
The company issued an apology Friday and said it would be pulling all Pradamalia products from its stores after people were quick to point out the problem with the imagery.
Pradamalia, “a new family of mysterious tiny creatures that are one part biological, one part technological, all parts Prada,” can be found on T-shirts, wallets, necklace charms, earrings and in ad campaigns.
The seven new creatures – Disco, Socks, Fiddle, Otto, Toto, Scuba and Spot – each exhibit supernatural powers and a few glaring quirks. Raised in isolation within the austere confines of Prada Labs, each has a triangular Prada heart and a checkerboard patterned brain. Other Prada codes featured prominently in the Pradamalia morphology include metal studs, ombre tones, polished wood, printed lips, and the iconic Saffiano leather.
Two of the creatures, in particular, received the bulk of criticism. “Otto” and “Toto” are wooden characters with large lips, which many likened to blackface or the golliwog.
Angry tweets online are calling for a boycott of the designer over the “racist crap” and urging the company to hire more black employees.
The company issued a statement over Twitter acknowledging the backlash, though it didn‘t seem to dissuade the critics.
“#Prada Group abhors racist imagery. The Pradamalia are fantasy charms composed of elements of the Prada oeuvre. They are imaginary creatures not intended to have any reference to the real world and certainly not blackface,” the company tweeted.
“#Prada Group never had the intention of offending anyone and we abhor all forms of racism and racist imagery. In this interest we will withdraw the characters in question from display and circulation,” the statement continued in another tweet.
About an hour after anouncing plans to remove the offending products, the company sent out another tweet advertising an item from the Pradamalia collection, though this one featured a different character. The products still remained on the Prada website as of Friday afternoon.