The company was started in 1913 by Mario Prada & his brother Martino as a leather goods shop, Fratelli Prada Milan.
Mario Prada did not believe that women should have a role in business, and so he prevented female family members from entering his company. Ironically, Mario’s son harboured no interest in the business, so it was his daughter Luisa Prada who took the helm of Prada as his successor, and ran it for almost twenty years. Her own daughter, Miuccia Prada, joined the company in 1970, eventually taking over for her mother in 1978.
Miuccia began making waterproof backpacks out of Pocone. She met Patrizio Bertelli in 1977, an Italian who had begun his own leather goods business at the age of 24, and he joined the company soon after.