‘We Don’t Protect What We Don’t Love’: Prada Group’s Sea Beyond Initiative Asks You to Consider the Oceans

Enzo Barracco, Francesca Santoro, and Meghan Marrero at the Prada and UNESCO panel in New York. All photography courtesy of Prada. 

Crafting elegant fashion moments and protecting the Earth’s biodiversity are tasks that necessitate two separate skill sets—or do they? Ask Emmy-nominated photographer Enzo Barracco, who changed course from fashion photography to natural landscape imagery mid-career. Or, inquire with Prada, the luxury fashion house behind Sea Beyond. The educational initiative promotes ocean preservation in partnership with UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission. 

Last night, Prada Group and UNESCO teamed up for a conversation around the urgency of this issue at Prada’s Broadway Epicenter. The event, which aptly coincided with the International Day of Biological Diversity, served as an example of how creative industries can galvanize action. “The fact that Prada can reach a very large audience around the world, that is the perfect collaboration between art, sustainability, and fashion,” said Barracco, who formed part of the panel along with UNESCO Senior Product Officer Francesca Santoro and NMEA Blue Schools Committee Chair Meghan Marrero. 


The photographer shared how his work took a hard left after being inspired by the travels of Sir Ernest Shackleton, an Irish explorer who took three treks across the Atlantic in the early 20th century. The professional transition has stuck for Barracco, whose monographs on Antarctica and the Galápagos are soon to be joined by a third publication depicting Hawaii’s biodiversity.

Selects from Barracco’s Galápagos and Antarctica trips were displayed among glossy black bags with the signature Prada logo from the brand’s Re-Nylon collection; one percent of the proceeds from their sales will go to the Sea Beyond organization. A donation to NMEA from Prada will also enable Barracco’s photos to populate the halls of 16 schools around the tristate area this fall as students gain ocean literacy and develop their own action projects. At the same time, their schools will begin the work involved in becoming a Blue School, one certified in its ongoing mission to weave ocean literacy into its curriculum. 


“Today’s students are tomorrow’s decision makers. We must help these learners build their connection to the ocean and become water stewards to ensure a sustainable ocean future.” explained Santoro. The UNESCO officer outlined how students have completed field-based projects, from beach cleanups to working with other local organizations building a cleaner planet. As the conversation concluded, Marrero stressed the vitality of such work with the next generation, saying, “We don’t protect what we don’t love, so sharing part of that love with them is very critical.”