Prabal Gurung – Nepalese American Fashion Designer

Prabal Gurung is known as one of the first fashion designers of Nepali ethnicity who made it big in the land of dreams, the United States of America. Gurung is an inspiration to many young generation fashion designers in Nepal who want to grow in the fashion industry and runway around the world. Prabal Gurung is now a brand known to dress celebrities from around the world and host many Runway shows of his own. The first of his kind in Nepal, Prabal, is a boon to the nation and the fashion industry.

Even though the fashion industry in Nepal is behind the rest of the world due to scrutiny by society, Gurung has managed to break these barriers to spread some light in fashion designing. Despite being a big shot all over the world, Gurung has not cut off his roots. Gurung has made remarkable contributions to the development of education in Nepal among underprivileged kids. Also, he takes his Nepali roots wherever he goes and displays some awareness of Nepal’s precious nature and culture.

Born on March 31, 1979, in Singapore, Gurung spent most of his childhood days in Kathmandu, Nepal with his Nepali parents. He began his education in the all-boys St. Xaviers School. From a young age, he was considered o be slightly different from other boys. He was more attached to art and creativity, which was unlike the things that boys generally liked those days, which is why he was mostly bullied his school days. However, he managed to shrug off the negativity and focus on creation.

Fashion Industry and runway

The fashion industry always fascinated Gurung, so he decided to study at the National Institute of Fashion Technology in New Delhi, India. While there, he began working for many local fashion houses and also at one point, joined Manish Arora. A few of his years were a struggle in the industry where he began traveling and learning more about fashion and technology. After graduating, he then moved to New York City in 1999 and joined Parsons School of Design. He interned for Donna Karan. Gurung was awarded the Best Designer Award at the annual Parsons/FIT design completion, which improved his competency in the competitive fashion world.  He then spent two years working as one of the design and production team members with Cynthia Rowley. He interned at Bill Blass. Gurung was later appointed as design director at Bill Blass. He worked in the position for five years.

Eventually, Gurung felt that he could roll out his ideas in his very own label. Hence he left the position to launch his collection.

Prabal Gurung as a brand

His Eponymous collection that was launched first in New York Fashion Week in February 2009 gained high momentum in the fashion industry. He became a familiar name among celebrities and the general public, as well. He is currently a creative director of his eponymous label.

Prabal Gurung site boasts women’s ready to wear and runway collection. You can buy dresses, jackets, outwears, knits, and accessories from his website. He has often stated in many interviews that he prefers to make comfortable clothing for women since they have a lot of articles of clothing to be worn for different seasons, so the choices become tough.

As a resident of America, he is susceptible to the development of the locality that he stays in. Hence, Prabal Gurung chooses to manufacture all their products in New York City to support the local community. Also, they aim to sustain domestic employment and income while maintaining the standard of quality of the products. The international audience respects this choice of Prabal Gurung to produce 80% of the collection in New York.

Prabal Gurung has established himself as a brand through his remarkable work, in all the years. One might often notice celebrities declaring that they are wearing Prabal Gurung in many award ceremonies and galas.  As of now, he has developed his professional profile by dressing up influential and celebrated figures of the world like the first lady of America-Michelle Obama, TV host Oprah Winfrey, Actresses Demi Moore, and Priyanka Chopra. Prabal Gurung admires all the women he dresses and has also stated that these women possess and display “strength of mind and real character.”

Political Statements painting his runways

Prabal Gurung is one of the few Fashion designers who are not afraid to mold his collections as per the political climate and scenario. Time magazine’s November 2018 issue inspired him with the tagline “Who Gets to be America?” for his label’s tenth anniversary. Hence his Spring Summer 2020 Collection revolves around that tagline. He is often spotted wearing simple t-shirts with political statements. He was also the supporter of Hilary Clinton’s campaign in the 2016 presidential election. He created a T-Shirt for the Clinton campaign in the Made for History T-Shirt collection. He also created Katy Perry’s costume- a pantsuit with words “I’m with Madam President” adorned on the cape for her appearance with Clinton in Philadelphia rally. He is a proud feminist and refers to feminist icon, social, political activist, and journalist Gloria Steinem as his “biggest Hero.” He has also often spoken about his support for the LGBTIQ  community.

Ethnic Representation and Immigration

Prabal Gurung has made his surname known to the entire world, and what it carries is his Nepali Ethnicity. Although he gained American citizenship in 2013, he has not let go of his Nepali roots. He has been representing Nepal in many ways.

Prabal contributed a lot to the Nepalese community during the April 2015 earthquake. He launched the Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund in the efforts to assist in aid of relief. He raised around 1 million USD in funds by June. Prabal Gurung was named the goodwill ambassador for Maiti Nepal in 2011. Maiti Nepal works for the prevention of girl trafficking and the empowerment of women in Nepal.

He had also founded the Shikshya Foundation Nepal with his family in 2011. The foundation aims to provide education facilities to underprivileged children of rural communities of Nepal. As of now, there are 60 children enrolled under this mission. However, the program aims to educate at least 300 underprivileged children in around ten years. They provide financial assistance in education and social and emotional needs. Gurung believes that providing education to these children will ensure a prosperous future of Nepal. The number of children enrolled in the program has been doing well, and the number is only increasing in the passing days.

Love buzz

Prabal Gurung is an international sensation as of now. However, he has kept his love life mostly a secret. He is 5 feet 9 inches tall, has an athletic body and dark brown eyes. Gurung is proud and openly gay. He has shared publicly that his parents and relatives are very supportive of his sexual orientation, and his coming out was relatively easy. His behavior from a young age at his all-boys school might have been predictive of his sexual orientation.

At one point, Gurung was rumored to be dating Dharma Production Owner and Indian Filmmaker Karan Johar. However, the two cleared the rumor by stating that they are good friends. Also, Gurung has called Karan his mentor, who helped him during his time in India. Gurung is occasionally spotted in events with Karan. However, they are not in a relationship. At 40 years old, he is single.

It is evident through Gurung’s undying love and respect for work that he rarely has time to discuss love. However, he is often marked to be speaking about his support for LGBTIQ. Prabal Gurung is also a huge role model for this community in Nepal.

Recognition and honors

Prabal Gurung has received much love and respect from around the world for his open-mindedness and enthusiasm towards work. His accolades are many in the fashion industry. Gurung was the recipient of the Ecco Domani Fashion Fund Award in 2010. Also, in 2010, he won the CDFA/Swarovski Womenswear Award. In November of that year, he also became the runner-up of the CDFA/Vogue Fashion Fund. From 2010 to 2012, he was chosen for the CDFA Fashion Incubator by renowned fashion editors, designers, business people, and retailers. He has and will be an inspiration to many young fashion designers sprouting around the world.

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