On the heels of recent New York runway outing, an ode to his native Nepal complete with prayer flags, Prabal Gurung, along with art director David Moran, teamed to launch a digital only fall 2018 ad campaign. Along the way the duo concepted a campaign straight out of ‘its a small world’ featuring a global talent pool both in front and behind the lens. The Impression’s Chief Impressionist, Kenneth Richard, spoke with the globally minded designer to learn more about the what was behind the thinking of his latest campaign.
Kenneth Richard: Prabal, congratulations on the strong spring collection. We loved the show and turned around to discover this wonderful campaign. Let’s dive into the heart of it as looks like you are making a statement. Was there a message in the casting and if so, why is that message important?
Prabal Gurung: Thank you Kenneth. Happy to share. The Fall 2018 collection was inspired by the strong and vigilant women I was raised by in Nepal and saw throughout India and the greater pan-Asian region. We wanted to honour these women and celebrate the region through our campaign.
Amid a challenging social and political climate, the issue of representation and inclusion has also been weighing on me a lot lately…I’ve never been able to look in a magazine or on a Hollywood screen and see someone who looks like me portrayed in a desirable or glamorous manner. I want to change that, so my nieces, nephew, and the children and teenagers I work with through my foundation, Shikshya Foundation Nepal, don’t have the same negative experience or self view.
Representation also extends beyond just the camera lens– minority talent is so often overlooked when it comes to the behind the scenes talent as well. For our society to advance – to be the most just, robust, creative, strong world we can be- we need to give more minorities a seat at the table. It was important to us that we work with talented Asian women to shoot, style, and do hair and makeup for the campaign.
Our Art Director David Moran has been such an ally in this belief and brought together such a wonderful team, with Aeri Yun from South Korea styling, Jin + Dana, from South Korea and the US respectively photographing, Sandy Nicha from Thailand on makeup, and Deepti Sadhwani from India on hair. Our incredible Casting Director Shaun Beyen was brilliant in casting Varsha Thapa (Nepal), Kanta (Thailand), He Cong (China), Hyun Ji (Korea) and Diya (Singapore and India) to front the campaign. This is the world I want to live in– a colourful, diverse place where everyone has a seat at the table.
Kenneth Richard: You went all digital here, which obviously is more cost affective and explains the digital scaled proportions from stills and video. But outside of that, why only a digital campaign?
Prabal Gurung: We live in such a fast paced digital world centered around sharable content. We chose to launch the campaign digitally, perhaps a less traditional approach, so our followers, fans and clients could really engage with and feel connected to the content and the message.
The images essentially sit in the viewers hands– it creates a more personal tie to the story we want to tell, compared to, say, a hard to reach billboard. Our message is one of inclusion and representation, and while all aspects of our brand may not be accessible, we wanted to the story and the visuals to be.
Kenneth Richard: Makes sense, so where does it live?
Prabal Gurung: The campaign imagery lives digitally on all of our brand channels, and will also be displayed at our first flagship at 367 Bleecker Street.
Kenneth Richard: Nice to tie in your own retail. Most campaigns break in August and September and curious, why timed in October?
Prabal Gurung: The collection finishes shipping to stores in late September, so we wanted to launch the campaign when the collection would fully be available. We just came off such an incredible Spring 2019 fashion week, so we were also considered in when we felt these images could make the strongest impact. We really want people to spend time with them, to think about them and digest their meaning.
Kenneth Richard: Congrats on the campaign and looking forward to next season.
Prabal Gurung: Thanks, me too.
Prabal Gurung Creative Director | Prabal Gurung
Art Direction | David Moran (America)
Photographer | Jin (South Korea) + Dana (America)
Models | Varsha Thapa (Nepal), He Cong (China), Hyun Ji (Kora), Diya (India and Singapore), Kanta (Thailand)
Stylist | Aeri Yun (South Korea)
Hair | Deepti Sadhwani (India)
Makeup | Sandy Nicha (Thailand)
Casting Director | Shaun Beyen (Belgium)