The short answer is yes, Prada is made in China. The company is actually not writing this explicitly on the website, they are marketing their production being located in Italy. The truth is that The Wallstreet Journal already in 2011 reported that 20% of Prada’s production of luxury fashion items are produced in China.
Where is Prada Made?
Prada is made in several countries. It’s a strategy that has been forced upon many companies, see Burberry, Louis Vuitton and Dolce & Gabanna. The main reason for having production in several countries is the lack of a skilled workforce.
The “made in” information on the website is mostly stating that goods are made in Italy, which is not 100% false, the company has 10 leather goods, 6 footwear and 6 clothing industrial sites in Italy today. Only one site, according to the website, is located abroad. And that is their Northampton shoe plant, Church’s primary location.
The website also states that some of the sunglass’s models are made in Japan.
Wall Street Journal is, however, painting another picture. The magazine is reporting that Prada has an extensive network of external partners that produce goods for the company.
480 external manufacturing partners are involved in the network, 20% of those are located outside Italy.
Sneakers are made in Vietnam, the reason is that Vietnam has developed expert knowledge in shoe manufacturing, especially within the athletic shoe vertical.
The famous Miu Miu bag is made in Turkey, shirts and dresses are more than often tagged with “Made in Romania”.
Handbag manufacturing has also drawn lots of attention in the last 10 years as many customers are reporting to have a “Made in China” tag in their handbags.
Why Produce in China?
The reason for so many brands using China in their manufacturing outsourcing is because of the development of know-how and technology advancements in Chinese production.
Companies have been manufacturing in China for the past 30 years and invested heavily into qualitative manufacturing practices due to low labor costs.
This has resulted in technical expertise and advanced plant setup that has well-established processes, both in the sense of manufacturing, but also after manufacturing practices such as quality control. This has enabled manufacturing companies in many different niches to produce high-quality goods to low prices.
The result that we’re seeing today is companies, such as Prada, and other high-end luxury brands, moving their production where they can produce to an even cheaper price, but keep the same price on the goods.
This will allow the company to earn higher margins. The problem is that all competitors have to follow suit, otherwise, they are left with lower margins and less money to spend on marketing. The competitor will instead take more market shares.
The Trend of Moving Manufacturing Back to Italy
Prada, among others, has been heavily criticized for keeping the “Made in Italy” tag when goods are made elsewhere. Politicians have been pushing to get a more transparent model to let consumers know where goods are made for years.
Prada has, in response to the critique, decided to remodel their manufacturing plants in Italy to preserve their know-how, support technological development in the processes of production and keep their workers in a safe working environment.
Four factories are labelled as “Garden Factories”. The goal is to respect nature and promote the workers’ wellbeing. The project has enabled workers to interact in a green environment with trees, artificial dunes, roof gardens, large glass walls and different walkaways.
To summarise, yes, Prada is producing some of its goods in China. Customers have been sharing pictures of bags with “Made in China” tags. Prada’s own manufacturing is located in Italy and the UK, however, their network of manufacturing partners exist all over the world.
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