Just take that jump
Prabal Gurung, who has a patron in Michelle Obama, speaks on life and fashion reports Pankaj Mullickeducation Updated: May 19, 2010 09:14 IST
I was born in Singapore and raised in Nepal. I was different from other children as I loved to dream, sing, dance, read, paint, sketch and draw. I was extremely close to my family, which helped shape who I am today. I learned that being different is all right because I had my family to support me and celebrate my differences.
First major success
In my first year at Parsons (The New School For Design), I was awarded the ‘Best Designer’ title at the annual Parsons/FIT design competition, which was unexpected and so thrilling. It opened up the door to an opportunity with Cynthia Rowley (women’s clothing czarina), which ultimately led to every other opportunity that has ensued since.
A personal high point for me will have to be when I made my decision to pack up and continue to pursue my dreams in New York. Never having been to America, it was a definite risk but I will never forget landing in the city for the first time and knowing that I had made the right decision.
Working under Manish Arora during my time in India had an impact on me because of where I was professionally at that point. The years I spent working in his studio were very formidable ones as far as design went. Manish’s talent, his understanding of the craft and his experimental approach will always influence my work. Oprah Winfrey is another figure to have influenced me in so many ways. I make sure I watch her show every day for inspiration and in so many ways to find solace in her answers, suggestions and the ways in which she gives back so generously to the world.
Devoted to designing
The truth is, designing is a career that demands non-stop attention, but if you are passionate about what you do, every bit of it is thrilling. I am always thinking of innovative ways to push my designs one step further and am constantly finding means of inspiration from everyday life.
While I am wholly dedicated to my career, I always make sure I allot some time to myself. I go to the gym in the morning to clear my head. I make sure I have evenings of complete relaxation or an hour here and there spent reflecting at my favourite coffee shop.
It’s so important to find balance in your life.
Advice to youngsters
My advice to anyone who is hesitant in any way to follow his or her dream is to just take that jump. Many of our youth are more comfortable taking the safe route. Without taking the risk, you will never learn from the adventure of trying to get to where you want to be.
As told to Pankaj Mullick