A bit of high-end design is coming to Chicago’s south side, as the Prada Group launches a project that takes its influence way past clothing and handbags.
The Italian luxury fashion house has partnered with Dorchester Industries of Chicago, a design and manufacturing branch of local artist Theaster Gates’ Studio, to open a program in support of artists of color.
Dubbed the Dorchester Industries Experimental Design Lab, the three-year program will aid artists interested in various areas of fashion, graphic design, industrial art and more. Not only will the project provide financial support for artists in need, it will also allow them to expand their networks in the field and collaborate with global companies to produce unique projects.
Theaster Gates, the founder of Dorchester Industries and Rebuild Foundation, took on the initiative as the co-chair of Prada’s diversity and inclusion council in order to bring forward individuals who have not had the opportunity to shine. Gates himself is known for his artwork that promotes social practices.
“For too long, our creative communities have possessed the talent but lacked exposure and opportunity,” Gates is quoted in a press release. “I’m thrilled to collaborate with Prada Group to generate a new hub of design energy on the South Side by engaging a network of skilled designers, artists, and intellectuals around our first cohort of awardees and their projects.”
Lorenzo Bertelli, Prada’s group marketing director and head of corporate social responsibility, calls the partnership “a critical step” in the company’s goals to create a more diverse and equitable industry. Prada is thrilled to launch a project that will help artists grow and foster their talent.
“Prada is extremely pleased to be working together with artist and social innovator Theaster Gates,” adds Malika Savell, Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer Prada North America, “to advance our shared goal of equipping the next generation of creative leaders and designers with the skills, network and support that will allow them to grow their artistic influence and professional development.”
The Dorchester Industries Experimental Design Lab will select its first round of participants and announce the names in October. Learn more about Theaster Gates Studio online and about the initiative at pradagroup.com.