When she was hired by Prada in 2009 in their Japan office, Rina Bovrisse had already been working in the fashion business for almost two decades, including stints with some of the world’s largest luxury brands. And almost immediately, Rina reports observing the less angelic side of the brand, such as the human resources department exec that order numerous employees, women mostly, transferred and/or demoted because they were "old, fat, ugly, disgusting or did not have the Prada look." When she raised concerns about how her co-workers were being treated, she found herself subjected to criticism of her own appearance, demoted and eventually urged to resign. After she & other former co-workers sued for discrimination and harassment, the ruling went in favor of Prada...which is now countersuing Rina for damage to the brand to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. "When I heard Rina’s story, I felt as a woman that I needed to do something to help," says Barrera Murakami Ayako, who launched a petition on Change.org to support Rina. "I've experienced discrimination based on my age and gender in seeking employment in Japan and I know I’m not alone. I think it’s wrong to judge someone not based on their experience or skills but on their appearance alone. I hope that my campaign will push Prada to do the right thing and send a message to other employers in Japan as well."
Any new signatures added to Ayako's petition are emailed to Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli, as well as Claudia Burbui, the company’s senior human resources manager; to date, almost 90,000 people have signed. “It’s clear her story is inspiring people in Japan and around the world who won’t support discrimination and are disappointed to see Prada’s apparent retaliation," notes Tim Newman, Deputy Campaign Director. "In reality, ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ is a soft version of the highly competitive world of luxury fashion," adds Rina. "Perhaps Prada thought it won the battle in Japan, after the puzzling and unjust ruling by the courts there. I am here to show them that I am armed with the truth, and I will not disappear. With the power of social networking, powerful companies can no longer hide their dirty secrets. I am taking a stand but I have gathered strength from the support I get from around the world."
To sign the Prada discrimination petition - CLICK HERE.
- Lesley Scott
(image at top)