Prabal Gurung

Prabal Gurung

by Melissa Magsaysay

One of the strongest voices in fashion leads the pack for positive change.

“I feel a duty to offer women a choice as to how they want to present themselves to the world, and this doesn’t stop at size 8, or a size 16. We are proud to offer women beautiful clothing in a range of sizes.”

-Prabal Gurung

Ashley Graham Prabal
Ashley Graham on the Prabal Gurung Fall 2018 runway.

“Luxury with a soul” and “femininity with a bite” are far more than the head turning hash tags designer Prabal Gurung tacks on to the end of his Instagram posts. They are a part of the ethos of his incredibly successful brand. An ethos which propels him forward to continue infusing inclusiveness into his messaging, and an undeniable sense of strength into the clothing he creates.

That demonstration of sartorial strength spans from the muted rose-colored dress with cascading pleated fan sleeves from his spring 2017 collection or the “This is What a Feminist Looks Like” t-shirt Gurung himself wore while taking his bow during finale of his fall 2017 runway show.

The finale at Prabal Gurung’s Fall 2018 runway show.
Prabal Gurung taking his bow after his Fall 2018 runway show.

That show featured models Marquita Pring and Candice Huffine, who glided down the runway in a line up that also included Bella Hadid and Sara Sampaio.

“Marquita and Candice are beautiful women who represent our brand.” Says the designer “We didn’t cast them to be a certain “type.” We simply wanted to show that our clothes are for all women and that beauty has more than one definition.”

Indeed it’s the message Gurung has been upholding since the inception of his brand in 2009 and manages to weave beautifully into everything he does.

Here, the visionary designer (both with clothing and a commitment to inclusive fashion) shares his insight on how the fashion industry is evolving and how choice and beauty do not stop at a size 8.

Q & A With Prabal

You have been at the forefront of making luxury and designer fashion more inclusive. Why is this important to you?

Inclusion and celebrating diversity is of the upmost importance to me. Growing up and attending an all boys school in Nepal, I was always seen as different. I know what it is like to feel slighted and overlooked. For this reason, when I started my brand eight years ago, I wanted to create a luxury brand with a soul. Soul to me is an ability to see someone and validate them and their existence. It is viewing the world through a colorful and layered lens. As a designer, I seek to celebrate women and their individual traits that make them unique, which I refer to as femininity with a bite. I feel a duty to offer women a choice as to how they want to present themselves to the world, and this doesn’t stop at size 8, or a size 16 even. We are proud to offer women beautiful clothing in a range of sizes, from a 0 to a 22 since our start in 2009.

Do you feel fashion has made significant strides in terms of body positivity and inclusiveness? What would you like to see more of?

The fashion industry is among the most accepting and liberal in some ways, however has been a bit slow to adapt to size inclusion. Progress is being made though — we see diverse models on runways, in campaigns and as brand spokespeople. But it takes more than one or a few to create a conversation and movement. I’d like to see more designers….not just in America, but in Europe as well, start to embrace different body types, to celebrate diverse women. That is when we will see a real impact and change.

Generally, what inspires you? Is there a through line that influences you from season to season or does it tend to vary?

The inspiration changes from season to season…it can be a piece of art, a film, architecture, or a city. For me though, it always comes back to the women— she is strong, smart, graceful, empowered and assured.

You've dressed an amazing and diverse set of women from film stars to first ladies, is there someone that you haven't yet dressed that you would like to?

I’ve had the privilege of dressing many impressive women such as Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman, the former First Lady Michelle Obama, The Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton, her Royal Highness Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, Oprah, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ashley Graham, Zoe Saldana, Emily Ratajkowski, Diane Kruger and Jennifer Lawrence to name a few. These women are intelligent, assured and alluring muses for so many reasons. I’d love to be able to dress Tilda Swinton…she is a true artist and genius. It would also be such an honor to dress Adele— she is pure talent and soul.


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