“It was a priority for us to represent a diverse range of Asia"
Fashion designer Prabal Gurung has cast all Asian models for his fall 2018 campaign.
Gurung’s campaign is titled ‘Stronger in Color’ and features models from all across Asia including China, Thailand, Nepal and India.
The 39-year-old designer said he values representation in the media. “I’ve always believed in the power of visual representation,” Gurung said. “Growing up, I never saw someone who looked like me represented in Hollywood films or fashion photos in a desirable and glamorous way (or really represented at all to be honest). I want to change this.”
He hopes that the younger generation can relate to “open a magazine or go on Instagram and be able to identify with the faces on the screen or in print.”
Gurung also used the opportunity to represent diversity within Asia itself.“It was a priority for us to represent a diverse range of Asia,” he explained. “With this campaign, I wanted to showcase, honor and celebrate the depth and breadth of the pan Asian experience, and to highlight multiple definitions of beauty.”
For Gurung, diverse casting is more of an afterthought and not a priority. “So many times I’ve heard different minority groups be told, ‘We’ll get to you next. Right now, we’re focused on X,’ whether that be in relation to race, gender identity, or size ― essentially, anyone who isn’t a thin, white, heteronormative person,” He said.
“So many of the decision makers in this industry ― those with ‘a seat at the table,’ so to speak ― don’t understand the nuances of race, or are totally apathetic, because it isn’t a part of their personal experience.”
Speaking about his campaign, Gurung revealed he was inspired by the Gulabi Gang – a group of female vigilantes who combat violence against women in India. China’s Mosuo ethnic group, in which women manage their own finances, were also an inspiration. Gurung said these groups of women have the “quiet strength and graceful femininity” he wanted in his collection.
Last month, designer Claudia Li cast all Asian models in her New York Fashion Week runway show.
Earlier this year, Allure featured three Asian models on three separate covers for their June issue.