Prabal Gurung's Asia-Inspired Spring Summer '19 Collection Is All About Inclusivity

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The designer who took inspiration from the southern foothills of his native Nepal; converted a typical Prabal Gurung dress, into a form of resistance

Prabal Gurung's spring summer set at the New York Fashion Week was a celebration of inclusivity. The designer who has been mining his roots offlate, took inspiration from the southern foothills of his native Nepal; converting a typical Prabal Gurung dress, into a form of resistance. One that he says is needed in 2018.

Gurung Debuts His Gorgeous Asia-Inspired Collection

He transformed the runway into a visual delight.

With Tibetan prayer flags adoring the ceiling and models—both women and men (a first for Gurung)—from three dozen different countries, the show was akin a freedom march. 

 
 
 
 
 
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Gurung's Spring '19 collection was vibrant and well-tailored, as per usual. The colour-blocked women's suits were nipped at the waist and men's cargos were paired with structured unbuttoned shirts. Not to forget, blazers were setting the runway on fire, too.

There were no over-complications in his outfits and they had a relaxed feel to them. With an electric palette, a gorgeous cast of models and body-consciousness (with models of various body shapes), Gurung's show screamed inclusivity. 

Gurung Debuts His Menswear Collection To Show The Breaking Of Gender Boundaries

 

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It was the first time Gurung designed menswear and the idea to do so came to him when he read a poem by his friend Cleo Wade.

"Now more than ever, traditional genders, roles, and identifiers are breaking down in our multifaceted world, and while designing menswear has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember, I needed a sign that gave me strength and courage to take this leap of faith," Gurung explained in an Instagram post. 

But it wasn't just the colours and the Asia-Inspired designs for men and women that caught everybody's attention. It was Gurung's brutally honest acceptance of different shapes and sizes and push for change that stirred a serious conversation. 

Gurung: Size, Race, Gender…Those Things Never Mattered To Me 

While speaking to InStyle—days before his show—Gurung shared his inspiration for his latest collection (in a scathing open letter of sorts to the fashion industry). He shared that since he started out, all he saw were very delusional ideas of body consciousness. 

"Ever since I started working in this industry, I saw this narrative of fashion that was very one dimensional: white, blonde, size zero. That was it. There was no other thing," he told the glossy.

Gurung added that as a minority, he didn't feel well-represented.

"As a minority myself, I have always understood what it feels like to not be represented and seen; to turn the pages of a magazine and not see someone who looks like you. You start questioning your worth and why you’re not being celebrated just how you are. It effects your psychological well-being," he said. 

Gurung explained that when he decided to launch his own label in 2009, he wanted to be a designer who represented women of all sizes. But he was met with the biggest challenge—"Retailers were not interested in buying it." 

"My clothes have never been just for one type of woman"

But that didn't stop Gurung. 

He noted, "And although retailers were still not interested, we, as a brand, went full force. There were a lot of fears, a lot of people who told us we shouldn’t be doing this. It was not “the cool” thing to do, to be creating pieces for women above a size 16. But I was never worried about it. I’ll let everyone else chase the cool. That’s always worked for me. My clothes have never been just for one type of woman. And if there ever was one type of woman in my head, it was her mind or her soul that was the unifying factor. Size, race, gender…those things never mattered to me."

He further stated that while diversity is finally showing up on runways, the progress is slow. 
 

"Allowing everyone to sit at the table, positive reinforcement and validation is how change comes," says the designer whose dresses many a celebrities including former US first lady, Michelle Obama. 

"We are a community with so many eyes on us, and we all have platforms"

In his interview, she also shared that it was fashion industry's responsibility to generate more awareness about body-consciousness. 

"It’s 2018 and fashion, our industry and each and every individual working in it, has a big responsibility to help heal our society. I truly believe that. For the longest time, fashion has been able to provide the world with dreams and aspirations. But we have also been responsible for a lot of negative, whether it’s making a woman or man feel like they are not worthy, or they don’t belong because of their size or race. Our job is to visually represent inclusion, diversity, and show how the world is better with color. Different colors. That’s what fashion should do," Gurung said.

"We are a community with so many eyes on us, and we all have platforms. I feel a strong responsibility to use my platform to create a dialogue about injustices and inequities in our society. I truly believe conversation and education is the way we can shift our perspectives and come together to make change," he signed off. 

We couldn't agree more.

Gurung's latest Asia-inspired collection with models of different races, gender, sizes and shapes, we are sure this change is in the offing. 

(Feature & lead image courtesy: Instagram)

Written by

Deepshikha Punj