Prabal Gurung’s namesake book is a testament to his American dream come true
The NYC-based designer's politically-charged voice will not change in the next decade
For the last decade, Prabal Gurung has always worn his politics on his sleeves. In an interview, the New York-based designer tells ELLE India all about how his new book gives an intimate look at his journey and why dressing icons like Michelle Obama and Oprah has been unforgettable.
ELLE: Tell us about some of your milestones.
Prabal Gurung: It is difficult for me to pick some special moments because it feels so surreal and wonderful—like it happened to someone else. But, dressing Michelle Obama during her time as First Lady, and creating a custom gown for my personal hero, Oprah, are definitely two highlights. Gloria Steinem coming to my show as her first and only fashion show was unforgettable. Additionally, I will always cherish using my success to help my community back home in Nepal through my foundation, Shikshya Foundation Nepal.
ELLE: What can we expect to see in your book?
PG: This book is a testament to my American dream coming true. It is a collection of images, stories, intimate moments, and creativity coming together to deliver a message of hope for all those who dare to dream about creating a better world.
ELLE: Does your book give an insight into your process?
PG: The book gives a look into my process while taking the reader through my collections, inspirations, sketches, mood boards, and the final product.
ELLE: What was it like collaborating with Sarah Jessica Parker and Hanya Yanagihara for this?
PG: Sarah Jessica Parker and Hanya Yanagihara are both long-time friends and collaborators of mine. Their work is so inspirational to me; I was thrilled to have their voices included in my first book.
ELLE: Born in Singapore, and having lived in Nepal, India, London, and New York, how have these cultures shaped you and your brand?
PG: These cultures played a critical role in shaping who I have become as a person, and the brand I have spent 10 years building. Having lived in such diverse cultures, I really came to appreciate how beautiful and important diversity really is.
ELLE: How has your brand evolved while staying true to its roots?
PG: When I started my brand 10 years ago, it wasn’t popular to talk about social or political issues as a designer. The sentiment was really that creative people shouldn’t speak their minds about such things. Despite that, I have always shared my views and championed the causes important to me. It has been our brand’s mission to continue on that path.
ELLE: As a designer who believes that ‘fashion isn’t just clothes’, what do you wish to change about the industry?
PG: I am so glad that the industry is starting to find its voice, and understand the importance of using our platforms as a catalyst for change. My hope is that we continue to fight for the rights of others and amplify our message even more.
ELLE: What do you envision for the next decade for Prabal Gurung?
PG: The sky is the limit. I hope to grow the brand and use my platforms to convey important social and political messages. It is also very important to continue to work on my Shikshya Foundation to help children and women in Nepal.