By Ram Khatry, Sydney
2 October 2016
A former international student from Nepal who became US citizen “a year and a half ago” and who is a good friend to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is using his world famous talent to make sure she becomes the 45th president of the United States of America.
Prabal Gurung, whose name alone is enough of an introduction to his fame, is employing his art to help the better half of former US president Bill Clinton to re-occupy the White House. He is her celebrity supporter because “she’s more qualified than our current president and previous presidents.” In an interview with American magazine Fast Company, it became apparent that Gurung’s admiration for women in general began within his own family where he and his siblings were raised by a hard working single mother who vehemently fought for equality.
The two became friends ever since they crossed paths at Diane von Furstenburg’s book signing party in 2014, he said during his interview with the American business media. When he introduced himself to Hillary Clinton, interestingly, she told him that she already knew him because her daughter (Chelsea Clinton) used Gurung’s designs.
“I was blown away” he was quoted as exclaiming by the website of the magazine.
What is Made for History project
Made for History is a fashion-driven project launched by Hillary Clinton through which her supporters can contribute to her presidential bid. The participating designers, Prabal among others, have used their signature styles to create T-Shirts that are sold through her campaign counters.
Once the Nepali American designer and Hillary’s campaign team agreed on his participation in the project, Prabal Gurung designed red T-Shirts adorned with white and blue flowers. As all things Prabal are, his creation for Hillary’s campaign have been a smashing hit. According to hillaryclinton.com, the US$ 45 a piece T-Shirts have long been sold out. What a beauty!
Why and how Prabal ended up designing T-Shirts for Clinton’s presidential campaign
Few months after his chanced encounter with Hillary Clinton, she launched her presidential campaign, he said in the interview. Prolific creative as he is, an idea came to his mind. He planned to use his “audience and followers” for something good. So he decided to contribute to the Made for History T-shirt collection which was promptly accepted by Clinton’s team.
Why he supports Hillary Clinton
Gurung reckons the entire fashion community supports Hillary Clinton. As for himself, one simple reason – because he wants to cast his first ever ballot in America “for the most qualified person to run for the presidency”. In his interview, he said he wanted to be able to go back to Nepal and tell underprivileged Nepali girls there, “You too can become this. No longer is your identity based on who you marry.” It is noteworthy that Prabal runs a foundation in Nepal which has been aptly named Shikshya Foundation – “Shikshya” being “education” in Nepali language.
He further added that “as a person, as a designer, as an immigrant, and as a new citizen”, he believes in her as the future president. On the flip side, these exactly are the reasons why he does not believe in Donald Trump. However, he does not want to consciously influence his followers because they have their own opinions. But as a former international student who had his fair share of struggle in the run up to his conferral of US citizenship a year and half ago, he wants to see Hillary Clinton become the president of a country he now calls home.
His aversion to Donald Trump is evident, “I am a minority. I am an immigrant. He is against everything that I stand for. He’s against everything that I am. Electing him would send the message that we, as a society, are okay with the world shifting in that direction.”
Below excerpt from the official website of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign sums up why Prabal Gurung supports “Madame President Hillary Clinton”.
“The president of the United States is a leader, not just for this country but for the world as well. We need a pragmatic leader whose decisions can bring about much-needed change during these challenging times—on climate change, the refugee crises and larger issues of economic, domestic, and foreign policy.
With her experience and evolution as a leader, Hillary is the best equipped to lead.”
Prabal’s love, respect and admiration for his mother and women in general
Prabal chose to be a feminist because “women are the biggest path to freedom for any kind of equality in the world”. He is painfully aware of the struggle women in less privileged societies endure. As for his own mother, she “wanted to break her own glass ceilings”, he mentioned during his recent media interview for Fast Company.
He said he was raised in a single-mum family. His admiration for his mother becomes apparent when he proudly talks about how she fought for equality. It is this affinity with the struggle of a woman that led him to believe that women “represent the freedom to choose your destiny.”