Nepalese-American designer Prabal Gurung has spoken up about the lack of Asian representation in movies, TV shows and fashion. When he hosted an advance screening of Crazy Rich Asians back in August, he said, “For as long as I can remember, I turn on the television or go to a movie, and [have] never been able to identify with the characters, because I never saw someone who looked like me. I’ve seen Asians typecast, miscast, or fully ignored. Until now.”
The movement towards inclusivity that Gurung envisioned starts with his own brand. Gurung recently released a digital campaign for his Fall 2018 collection with an all-Asian cast. He didn’t just stop with Asian models, but hired an all-Asian team hailing from countries such as Thailand, India and China, whom he credits in his captions. Gurung’s campaign aims to celebrate women and femininity, as he describes in a series of Instagram posts, “I share with you a piece of my past, a part of my world, a collage of my memories from childhood. This story is a cross cultural exploration, a journey from West to East as I discover the various iterations of feminism and femininity.”
“I would like fashion to also be conscious about the power that we have, the visual power of changing the world,” he told Fashionista. “For centuries, we’ve made women feel bad by telling them if you don’t buy this product, you’re not worthy. I’m a firm believer that we have the power to make them feel better. Every group, every minority — women, transgender [people], Asian, Black, Latino — everyone by saying, ‘You’re part of our conversation.’”
It’s not just Gurung’s ad campaigns that strive for diversity. His Spring 2019 runway show (below) featured 76 percent models of color, two plus-size models and one transgender woman, according to our recent diversity report. Here’s hoping more designers follow Prabal Gurung’s lead.