Ad Age is marking Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2023 with our Honoring Creative Excellence package. (Read the introduction here.) Today, our guest editor Bing Chen turns the spotlight to Prabal Gurung, the celebrated fashion designer. Here, Gurung writes about about “a powerful symbol of recognition for the entire Asian Pacific diaspora.”
As a co-founder and board member of Gold House, a nonprofit organization dedicated to investing in and promoting Asian Pacific leadership and cultural representation, I was proud to be part of the team that lit up the Empire State Building on May 3 to mark the beginning of AANHPI Heritage Month. But as a Nepali immigrant and fashion designer who has dressed some of the first ladies of the United States, quite a few leading ladies of the silver screen and many everyday superheroes, I was especially proud to be the first Nepali to have this honor.
This momentous occasion meant more than just a personal accomplishment for me. It was a powerful symbol of recognition for the entire Asian Pacific diaspora, who have been marginalized and invisible for far too long. For a few fleeting moments, the Empire State Building stood tall and bright, resplendent in gold, the color of Asian excellence and brilliance. It was a statement of affirmation, a signal to the world that we are here, we are proud and we are not going anywhere.