Prada and Luxury Promise have quite a lot in common: we’re both run by inspiring women (who definitely don’t follow the herd) and we both think sustainability is the future of fashion. While Luxury Promise is all about buying and selling pre-owned luxury, Prada is turning its attention to how it creates its iconic nylon bags, with the Re-Nylon project (#renylon). Prada’s aim is to use ECONYL® yarn, a special recycled nylon material, for all of its nylon bags by the end of 2021. Not only is this a fantastic initiative, but it will also make Prada nylon bags (not just the new range, but vintage as well) one of the hottest trends around.
The science behind the Re-Nylon project is incredible (really!) Plastic waste collected from oceans, fishing nets and textile fibre production is regenerated into ECONYL® yarn which (and this is the truly amazing bit) can be recycled indefinitely, with no decrease in quality. This could be a real fashion industry game-changer, and we’re so excited about it. But it’s also got us thinking: this isn’t the first time that Prada has led the way when it comes to innovation in luxury bags. Miuccia Prada, co-CEO and head designer, is a true fashion pioneer, and is largely credited with transforming Prada from a successful family business into a global luxury fashion powerhouse. We think she’s amazing.
When Miuccia’s grandfather, Mario Prada, opened his eponymous shop in Milan in 1913, it sold leather bags, trunks and travel accessories to wealthy fashionistas. It did rather well, and a few years later Prada received the grand title of “Official Supplier of the Italian Royal Household” which allowed the company to use the royal coat of arms on its logo. Mario then moved into ready-to-wear fashion and business continued to prosper. Miuccia joined the family business in the 1970s (she had a PHD in political science and had also worked as a mime artist – what a woman!) At first, Miuccia focused on accessories, and it was her idea to use industrial-strength nylon to make handbags. (The waterproof fabric called 'pocone' was also used to make army tents.) The Prada nylon Vela backpack made its debut in 1984. It was a bold and risky move from a luxury brand, but the gamble paid off and people loved the mix of fashion, luxury and functionality. More than 30 years later, Prada nylon bags have become fashion staples, from the iconic backpack to handbags and totes. Nylon has also appeared in Prada’s ready-to-wear clothing collections (way before luxury active-wear was even a thing.)
One of Miuccia’s other important contributions to the Prada look is the subtle branding. In the 1980s when the trend was for big, bold logos, she kept it simple and understated with a simple metal triangle, which is still used today. It is yet another example of Miuccia Prada’s vision, her ability to see beyond trends and traditions to create interesting and innovative pieces. We hope that the Re-Nylon programme is the start of something big, both for Prada and for the luxury fashion world.
And while we’re talking about Prada, we’re often asked how we authenticate our pieces. You can find out more about our triple check process here. Prada is a much-copied brand, but here are three simple ways to distinguish a genuine vintage Prada backpack from a fake.
1. The Prada logo
The triangular nameplate logo was designed to be subtle and low-key, almost "anti-status", but it’s become so iconic that it’s one of the most obvious things for counterfeiters to copy. When authenticating we always look closely at the “R”– there should be an indent at the top of the right leg – and check that the font has serifs, little strokes at the ends of the letters, as seen here on the “A”.
2. Interior nameplate logo.
Many older models have a rectangular name plate inside and this should either say:
Over two lines or
Made in Italy
Most Prada bags are still made in Italy, seldom anywhere else. The rectangular plate should feel firm and secure and not glued on, this plate is welded on to the internal lining.
3. Quality Assurance Tag/ FactoryTag
Most Prada Nylon bags have a Quality Assurance Tag, also known as a Factory Tag, stitched into the seam of the interior purse pocket. It's a white tag with a 2 or 3-digit number printed in black, which indicates the factory of origin.
This bag represents a backpack from Factory 59. Other notable tags seen on backpacks are 56, 57, and 58
This example has two Factory Tags, 58 and 42. It means that the bag was made in two different factories.
Discover our pre-owned and vintage Prada bag collection here.