This past September, Prabal Gurung celebrated 10 years in business—a major (and, sadly, increasingly rare) accomplishment for a designer who’s made New York his home. Unfortunately, his plans for his anniversary show were about to be completely upended in the eleventh hour.
The show was originally intended to take place at The Vessel, a public art installation located at Hudson Yards. But just weeks out from his place on the schedule, Gurung read the headlines: Stephen Ross, the billionaire behind Hudson Yards, was hosting a multimillion-dollar fundraiser for Donald Trump. So, he pulled his show almost immediately.
At his new venue, the models took their finale walk, each wearing sashes emblazoned with the words, “Who Gets to Be American?”—a boldly political statement not normally seen on the runways.
“I hope that my brand continues to be a leading force in starting important dialogues around social responsibility, diversity, and inclusivity,” he says, adding that his mission is to create “clothing that empowers its wearer and serves a deeper purpose.” But, unlike many of the other brands out there with similar, lofty claims, Gurung appears to walk the walk: Over 70% of his employees consist of women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ+ community, and over 80% of his collection is manufactured locally in New York.
“Apathy is the only concern that I have in our industry,” he says. “In today’s dangerous political climate, we must be a voice for the communities we’re benefiting from, and fight to support them.”