Nepalese-American Prabal Gurung' A Voice for Anti-Asian Violence and Fashion Designer

Since his first presentation in 2009, Nepalese-American designer Prabal Gurung has actively advocated for inclusivity and diversity. He spoke with The New York Times about his own experiences and what his profession has to do with it in the wake of the shootings in Atlanta and the rise in anti-Asian violence. He is one of New York’s most outspoken fashion designers, speaking out on the runways and on social media for the rights of women, immigrants (he is a Nepalese-American himself), and LGBTQ individuals. Gurung has become particularly vocal recently regarding the increase in anti-Asian violence.

In lower Manhattan on Sunday, he collaborated with friends and fellow designers Phillip Lim and Dao-Yi Chow to plan a Black and Asian solidarity run. Prior to that, he conducted a Twitter interview about fusing politics and fashion with Vogue. This interview has been edited and condensed. “They are human issues,” he said.

Nicole Phelps: You called the collection you just showed for fall 2021 a “love letter to New York.” Why?

Photo Courtesy: CNN

Prabal Gurung: The collection was inspired by last summer in New York City, and the revolution of self-expression and unity that I saw all in all the marches and protests. I saw communities all throughout the city rallying together to express themselves and to support one another. I would say it was a very difficult time for all, but I still feel that it was one of the best summers I’ve ever had in my life. It really awakened me, it really raised my consciousness. I’ve always known this for sure, but the activists and the protesters and everyone who was there confirmed my belief that in times of uncertainty, of pandemic, the biggest resistance is joy, because that leads to hope and optimism. So this was my valentine to New York City.

Nicole Phelps:You have become really vocal about the rise in anti-Asian sentiment amidst the pandemic. Can you talk a little bit about how you’re spreading this important message both on social media and beyond.

Prabal Gurung: On social media that’s the easiest thing to do: use my platform to give voices to the activists who’ve been working on the ground. While I may have access, I may not have all the knowledge that they do. Just sharing the platform has been really great—and learning. I wrote an article a year ago in the Washington Post about the need for Asian and Black solidarity, and how the Asian diaspora needed to show up and do more work during Black Lives Matter. Cut to a year later with all this Asian hate and it’s become even more imperative. So I’m working very closely with various organizations to create coalitions and joint projects. It is important that we develop solidarity between every marginalized group. That is the only way we can combat racism and white supremacy. Me and my peers, we came into this industry with not many role models to look up to, not many mentors from within our diaspora. I want to break that, I want to make sure that the generation next, they have access to us.

References: Gurung on Being a Designer Who Stands for Something - Vogue

Written by John Mark Villafranca

John Mark Villafranca is a Digital Marketing Intern of PS Media Enterprise and a 3rd year Bachelor of Arts in Communication student of Batangas State University ARASOF.


A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization
based in California that advocates
social inclusion of minorities with
Asian heritage though cultural awareness.


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Nepalese-American Prabal Gurung' A Voice for Anti-Asian Violence and Fashion Designer
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