18 Aug

How Ethical Is Prada?

Prada was founded in Milan in 1913 by Mario Prada as a luxury leather goods brand. But it’s only in 1978 when Mario Prada’s granddaughter, Muccia, took charge that the label really took off. Since then, Prada has become one of the most iconic fashion brands out there—it’s often associated with cutting edge style and traditional yet modern sophistication. It’s no wonder the Devil wears Prada!

Buuut, Prada has also recently been slammed for designing and selling accessories that the Internet has described as having a “resemblance to racist caricatures historically used to dehumanise black people.” Yikes.

The brand has since said it’s committed “to diversity, equity, and inclusion within the company and the fashion industry as a whole“, but what about Prada’s sustainability initiatives? How is Prada impacting the planet, people, and animals?

You know the drill:

How ethical and sustainable is Prada?

Environmental Impact

Prada’s environmental rating is ‘Not Good Enough’. First, it uses few eco-friendly materials. Second, we found no evidence it minimises textile waste or that it implements water reduction initiatives. And finally, while Prada complies with its own Restricted Substances List, there is no evidence it has taken meaningful action to eliminate hazardous chemicals. Whoops.

Labour Conditions

Unfortunately, Prada is also ‘Not Good Enough’ when it comes to labour conditions. Most of Prada’s final stage of production is undertaken in Italy, a medium risk country for labour abuse. Still, the brand lacks transparency as it does not publish a list of suppliers or information about forced labour, gender equality, or freedom of association. More importantly, we found no evidence that Prada ensures payment of a living wage in its supply chain, nor has adequate policies or safeguards to protect suppliers and workers in its supply chain from the impacts of COVID-19. So much for that ‘equity’!

Animal Welfare

Prada uses leather, wool, down, angora, exotic animal skin and hair, AND we found no evidence the brand has a policy to minimise the suffering of animals. Prada did commit to eliminating fur, but that’s not enough for us to give Prada a rating higher than ‘Very Poor’ for animal welfare.

Overall Rating: Not Good Enough

So, how ethical is Prada? We rate Prada ‘Not Good Enough’ based on our own research. The Italian brand has still a long way to go before we can consider it ethical and sustainable. Prada needs to use more eco-friendly materials and reduce its use of hazardous chemicals and water. It also needs to start disclosing more information about its practices and start paying its workers a living wage!

Note that Good On You ratings consider 100s of issues, and it is not possible to list every relevant issue in a summary of the brand’s performance. For more information, see our How We Rate page and our FAQs.

See the rating.

Sustainable alternatives to Prada

Discover our favourite Good Swaps for Prada below!

E.L.V. Denim

Rated: Good

E.L.V. Denim transforms old discarded denim into modern, sophisticated, and even made-to-measure jean jackets, pants, and accessories. Find most jeans in UK sizes 24-32.

See the rating.

Shop E.L.V. Denim @ Rêve en Vert.

Shop E.L.V. Denim.

Stella McCartney

Rated: Good

A member of the Ethical Trading Initiative and Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Stella McCartney has set some excellent environmental standards across the luxury fashion industry. Stella uses some eco-friendly materials, including recycled polyester and organic cotton, and has a strategy in place to reduce waste across its entire supply chain. It has also adopted the ETI Code of Conduct that includes a living wage definition.

See the rating.

Shop Stella McCartney @ LVR Sustainable.

Shop Stella McCartney Kids Pre-Owned @ Retykle.

Shop Stella McCartney Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

Shop Stella McCartney.

Bethany Williams

Rated: Good

Bethany Williams offers an alternative system for fashion production, aiming to find innovative design solutions to sustainability. The brand manufactures locally and uses eco-friendly and recycled materials. The current collection ‘Breadline’ highlights the hidden hunger issues in the UK by working alongside the Vauxhall Food Bank and Tesco.

See the rating.

Shop Bethany Williams @ Farfetch.


Rated: Good

Wires is a London based eyewear brand that creates beautiful styles from a single piece of metal wire and 3D printed parts.

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Shop Wires.

Shop Wires @ Rêve en Vert.

Teatum Jones

Rated: Good

Teatum Jones is the luxury London-based label of Catherine Teatum and Rob Jones.  Teatum Jones is known for its bold colours and textures with beautiful knitwear and flowing dresses.  They're also a favourite of Good On You supporter Emma Watson, who wore a stunning blue suit by the label to the recent G7 summit.

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Shop Teatum Jones.


Rated: Good
Peach mashu mini tote

Mashu is a British sustainable and vegan accessories label specialising in handbags. Mashu’s environmental rating is "Good", crafting its exterior with vegan leather alternatives while its interiors feature vegan suede made from recycled polyester, ensuring you never have to sacrifice your morals for style again.

See the rating.

Shop Mashu.


Rated: Good
man and woman wearing stylish sustainable sunglasses by POLITE WORLDWIDE

POLITE WORLDWIDE is an eyewear brand that believes in being polite to our planet and ourselves with positive vibes only.

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Editor's note

Feature image via Unsplash, all other images via brands mentioned. Good On You publishes the world’s most comprehensive ratings of fashion brands’ impact on people, the planet and animals. Use our Directory to search more than 3,000 brands. We may earn a commission on sales made using our offer codes or affiliate links.

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