During a recent trip to his native Nepal, U.S. design darling, Prabal Gurung sat down for a sold-out "In Conversation With Prabal Gurung," which was staged by the Shikshya Foundation Nepal. The New York-based designer to the stars spoke about education, being famous, what women want, and more ...
On his journey from struggling designer to international success: "The journey has not been easy but there are always ups and downs with everyone. The one lesson I have learnt is perhaps to be completely honest and true to myself and to keep listening to my heart. I always feel that with 100 per cent integrity and absolute passion and hard work things will work out ... [Success] is an honour I hold with great pride and absolute humility because I feel very blessed. I was not your typical bright student. If you had asked people back then if I was going to be this person, they would have laughed."
On his experience prior to starting his namesake brand: "I was interning at Donna Karan in the US. My job was to put water on the table for designers and cut fabrics. After work, I would attend classes at Parsons. In total, it was 14 years of hard work. What you see on the screen is just 0.2 per cent of all the effort."
His advice for those dreaming of being a designer: "Be true to yourself. Everyone has an opinion, but shun the white noise. Having said that, follow your experience and intuition.”
On fame and education: "Fame cannot be the end goal. It is the only result of hardwork. When you work passionately, you will find an audience. Education hands you the tools, you have to define your own success.”
On his daily routine: "My day begins at 5:30/6:00 am and I make my tea. I do make my own tea. I check emails, at 7:00 am I go to the gym, and work out for an hour. I return home, eat breakfast, and go to my office. I call my mum almost every day on my way to the office and then the work begins. Usually from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm, it’s all business related work. It’s break time thereafter and the creative work begins, which goes on till 9:00 to 10:00pm. After work, I go home and go to bed after 12. Well, I cannot give the exact time as mum will say ‘sutdaina’ (you don’t sleep enough)."
His message for Nepalis: “Bhaee halcha ni (it’ll be done). We have to change this attitude and come out of it. We have to set our standards high and be on the international level."
On what women want from fashion: "So you basically want my secret (chuckles)… the thing is that women have so many layers and are very complex. Without being sexist, I think women are emotionally different from men. I have understood what makes women comfortable and what they want to look like. Again if there is one thing that’s the truth, it is that every woman wants to look beautiful and my designs stem from this idea. I try to make them look beautiful and not ridiculous or vulgar. I want women to look their best and the most graceful. So that’s my little secret and the motivating factor for my designs."