Started in 1913, the company was originally known as "Prada Brothers" in Italy. Mario Prada, the founder, designed and sold handbags, shoes, trunks, and suitcases at his 2 boutiques in Milan.

The classic Prada suitcase was made of heavy walrus skin. However, plane travel made heavy suitcases impractical. Hence, the company started to make lighter bags and high quality items made of crystals, tortoise shell and wood.

In 1978, Mario's granddaughter Miuccia Prada inherited what was still a leather goods business from her grandfather, and led the company's expansion into couture with an overall more bohemian style.

In the 1990's, Helmut Lang, Jil Sander, and Church's were purchased by the Prada Group. However, the former two labels were sold to Luc Vandevelde, and Link Theory by 2006 respectively. Recently, a 45% stake of Church's was also sold to Equinox.