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Prabal Gurung Was Once Asked Why He Designs ‘for Fat People’

Prabal Gurung, an award-winning designer known for his bright colors and easy dresses, has been quietly carrying size 22 since he began his brand in 2009. But he told Fashionistathat his collection for Lane Bryant was met with “a lot of snickering” from the fashion industry.

He recounted an, um, uncomfortable time when an acquaintance asked him, “Why are you designing for fat people?”

“I said to her, words are very powerful, they impact and affect lives. 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.”

The campaign fits many high-fashion benchmarks — an Inez & Vinoodh ad campaign, top model Ashley Graham as the face, and a debut in Vogue — but Gurung still felt resistance to the more inclusive collection.

“Our industry is very, very slow at change, and fearful, we are operated by fear. There are a handful of people who operate with absolute courage and guts, but the majority of us, we don’t.”

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