Prada was founded by brother designers Mario and Martino Prada way back in 1913 in Milan, Italy where the two brothers worked in a fine leather shop that was called Fratelli Prada, which in English translates to Prada Brothers. At first the Prada brothers were actually pretty misogynistic, and they didn’t believe in the fact that women should be a part of the family business.
Of course this was way back a long time ago even before women were allowed to vote in the United States, so you can necessarily get mad at Prada for having that kind of standpoint way back when, and what is funny about the whole idea that they didn’t want women to work with them is that when it was time for Mario to pass down the business to his son, he didn’t want to have any part of it, so it was actually Mario Prada’s daughter named Luisa who took over the family business and then ran the business for over twenty years in Milan, which like I just said for that time was a very big deal, especially with a woman at the helm being the boss. After Luisa the company was then run by another woman with her daughter Miuccia taking over the company from her mother in 1978.
It’s such a great family story as to how Prada got itself started in Italy from just a couple of brothers who had a passion for making fine leather goods, and it really continued to boom once Miuccia took over and got things started on a whole different level. When she inherited the company, Prada was still making a very modest amount of money in which the sales of the entire company was around four hundred and fifty thousand American dollars, which as we know today is just chump change as to where Prada was heading towards.
What made the big difference with Prada really came when Miuccia started to utilize her creativity with the designs of her bags and backpacks, and at first it may not have taken off because of the lack of infrastructure that Prada had for advertising and marketing, but once she got her big break in 1979 through her first set of backpacks and totes it was all of a sudden a huge commercial success and Prada had made it over the hump into a very successful clothing company not only in Europe but in the much coveted American marketplace.
In 1983 Prada opened their doors up in a store right in the heart of the Milan fashion world so that all of Europe had a shot to see the family’s name, and it worked out tremendously for them. It wasn’t much longer until they had another big release with a nylon tote that ended up creating so much money for them that they were able to open up many more locations in huge international shopping areas including New York City, Paris, Florence and other areas around Europe and the United States.
It was a sharp rise to fame for the Prada family, but it came through the women who invoked their creativity and made some cool clothing that the family business would have otherwise never created.