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Prada was founded in 1913 by Mario Prada. When Miuccia Prada took over the stagnant brand, Prada now is among the top-selling fashion brands in the world.
4 Mins

The History of Prada

Lewis Findley
Lewis Findley

Prada - Fashion Rebels

Prada is a unique fashion house. Not only do they go against the fashion industry but they do it every season!

It's got to the point where it's prudent not to miss the Prada show.

The thinking behind this can be found in Miuccia Prada, their creative director.

Her endeavour to challenge convention reached a new peak when they turned something not seen since the '70s into a '90s look.

In this spotlight, we're going to explore their history and how they became one of the most rebellious fashion houses on the catwalk!

Origins of Prada

Prada's story began in 1913 when Mario Prada opened a store in the ultra-prestigious Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II - not far from the Piazza Del Duomo. They started selling bags, trunks and accessories for travel.

The quality of Prada's products caught the attention of the Italian Royal House who made Prada their official supplier in 1919.

Now supplying the Royal House, they were able to attach the House of Savoy's coat of arms to their logo which attracted aristocrats and confirmed Prada's reputation.

After going through a period of stagnation during the early part of the 70's, Prada's fortunes drastically changed when Miuccia Prada joined the company in 1975.

Miuccia Prada - The Visionary

As a fashion designer, Miuccia Prada has achieved it all. 

She's received countless honours from the fashion industry and was even awarded a Knight of the Grand Cross award!

Her story started in 1975 when she joined the brand as an accessories designer. 

Her first design, the Nylon bag, was designed for the disenfranchised individual.

The use nylon fabric became a cult hit for the stagnant brand and still to this day.

In addition to her eye for design, another success factor behind the brand's resurgence was Prada's partnership with Patrizio Bertelli. He joined the company in 1977 and, with is business acumen, transformed the fortunes of the brand.

Prada Milestones

With Miuccia and Patrizio at the helm, they plotted a path that culminated in Prada being one of the biggest fashion houses in the world.

With expansion on the agenda, they diversified their product line by offering footwear in 1979 before offering womenswear and reaching the catwalk during the '80s. 

Praised for their low waistlines, clean lines and fabrics, Prada were making a name for themselves. This recognition led to an aggressive expansion plan involving New York, London, Madrid, Tokyo and Paris in 1983.

These stores were the first to be decorated with the distinctive 'Prada Green', these directly-owned stores were supported by a business model whereby every process was controlled by Prada. 

Other milestones for the brand involve menswear joining their ever-growing list of products in 1993, perfume in 2004 and the creation of the Miu Miu brand.

Prada's Fashion Rebellion

As you know, Miuccia has played a pivotal role in the resurgence of Prada but as a designer, she is notoriously difficult to keep up with.

This unpredictability leaves the fashion world guessing as they ponder what she is going to do.

An example of when she caught everyone by surprise was in 1996.

At this time, backless tops, pedal pushers, bucket hats and small bags were signature looks but where any of those in avocado green? Or, prints considered hand drawn? Even clunky and awkward designs that conflicted with the minimalist style?


With change always on her mind, Miuccia doesn't wait for fashion, fashion waits for Miuccia.

Final Words

With $3.1bn of sales in 2018, Prada is among the top-selling fashion brands in the world. 

Their approach to fashion teaches us that Miuccia Prada doesn't focus on what's going on in the fashion industry, she asks herself what does she want and creates it.

With a penchant for expansion into new territories, Prada has set their seats on Asia. They floated on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and raised around $2.14bn in 2011.

As Prada continue to push the boundaries of what's considered ordinary, we look forward to writing about it! 

You can find an array of Prada handbags in auction. Hit the link below and explore our catalogue.