It’s 2017 and yet high fashion designers willing to go plus-size are still scarce. Although folks like Christian Siriano have made a point of dressing full-figured ladies, more mainstream designers are still reluctant, to say the least. It was only this year, after all, that designer Michael Kors even allowed Ashley Graham to walk the runway for him. But Prabal Gurung is ready to change all that.
Much like Siriano, Gurung did a collection with plus-size giant Lane Bryant, for which Ashley Graham was his muse. He tried offering plus sizes on his own collection but soon became frustrated at the lack of movement from buyers who were simply uninterested in anything other than straight sized clothing. He said,
“I’ve been offering a size 22 since I started, but for some reason — [perhaps] because retailers weren’t buying it or something — it got lost in translation. What I realized was that the changes I wanted to see, in the industry and the world, just didn’t happen by me doing a show with a few plus size models or a diverse group of models; it needed to continue, and I felt like if lending my voice could move the conversation forward, I want to be part of it.”
And even nowadays, Gurung still gets strange looks from other designers in the industry who refuse to expand their sizes. He recounted how he often faces “a lot of snickering” or insulting questions such as “why are you designing for fat people?”
To this, he responded,
“The majority of American women haven’t had a voice, haven’t felt like they belong in our world, and I wanted to be sure that they do. It’s people like you who make statements like these — there’s a reason I wanted to do this.”
While things are slowly starting to change in the industry with the help of designers and models alike, Gurung isn’t hopeful that any real change will happen anytime soon.
“There have to be people at the decision-making table representing you, there’s no denying that. If you are sitting in a room filled with white males or white females, and you think that racism is going to be addressed, if you’re sitting with size 2 decision makers and think your change is going to happen, you need to wake up. If you think that someone else is going to come and help you, it’s completely delusional.”
Prabal Gurung is featured in the new film Straight/Curve, which focuses on the industry’s reluctance to include a wider range of sizes. Other featured faces in the film include Tim Gunn, Tess Holliday, and Iskra Lawrence.
You can shop Prabal Gurung x Lane Bryant here.
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, and Tiger Beat. Her favorite Housewife is Bethenny Frankel (by far!), but when she’s not watching RHONY, you can probably find her hanging with her kitty Tom or tweeting at Sen. Chuck Schumer.