Article Oct 19, 2016

You are no longer passing

Prabal Gurung urges designers to embrace body diversity

Prabal Gurung has urged designers to embrace body diversity in a heartfelt essay.

The Nepalese-American fashion designer is known for his glamorous gowns and sophisticated layering, with his ensembles worn by the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Anne Hathaway and Kerry Washington.

Gurung is very aware that women come in all shapes and sizes, and accordingly, is putting an emphasis on inclusion in his new offerings.

"We are at a turning point in our industry, a fork in the road where industry leaders have to make a choice: do we stay on the path we know and continue to design for the same women, or do we instead try a new approach?" he wrote in an article titled Fashion for All for Lenny, the feminist e-newsletter founded by Lena Dunham and Jennifer Konner.

Gurung, only the second male writer ever asked to pen a piece for Lenny, recently announced he is creating a capsule collection for Lane Bryant so women who might not be able to find their sizes in typical high-end store could find stylish, quality clothes that fit. He is also ensuring that his activewear line Prabal Gurung Sport features sizes XS to XXL.

After leaving Nepal sixteen years ago, Gurung writes, "America gave me the opportunity to be my truest self, " and that inclusion has been an important value to him ever since.

In a particularly poignant passage, he describes watching a woman pining for clothes at a trunk show, and understanding her feelings because he, too, was an “outsider”.

“As someone who was always seen as 'different,' I am well acquainted with the feeling that my needs were not mainstream enough to be met by society,” he said. “I know what it feels like to be slighted, and I’m embarrassed that we as an industry have overlooked hundreds of millions of women.”

The 37-year-old further adds that he doesn't believe fashion to be "fake and frivolous" as others do, and he sees opportunity and potential in the industry and "above all" wants to "be inclusive."