That week, Indian media speculated about Bollywood sweetheart Sonam Kapoor's plans to travel to Nepal. "People are wondering why Sonam Kapoor is actively talking to many people and telling them to visit Nepal," The Times of India wrote. They concluded her to be "an activist who feels it would boost the country's economy." Sonam is a friend of Prabal, and she had simply 're-tweeted' Prabal's call to visit Nepal in 2011, asking her Twitter followers to consider visiting Nepal this year.
No one has appointed Prabal brand ambassador of Nepal. No one needs to. Simply by virtue of being an internationally known Nepali, Prabal has emerged as one of the best brand ambassadors Nepal could have. Never one to miss an opportunity, he isn't shy about consciously promoting Nepal every chance he gets, be it at a private dinner with Demi Moore or on the runways of New York Fashion Week. In private conversations over Nepali food with friends in Queens, New York, it's clear he wants to help his country any way he can. He displays a keen interest in the country's economy and seems frustrated that his work can't contribute to it as much as he would like.
Last February, when Prabal showcased his collection at New York Fashion Week's runway for the first time, Women's Wear Daily asked his celebrity-studded front row to name the country he is from. Several correctly identified it as Nepal. In April Vogue (America) featured his travel journal from Nepal online, with photos of him in the Everest region. In September he started his presentation at New York Fashion Week with a series of designs handwoven in Nepal. By December, those bright colour-blocked dresses had been photographed for publication by some of the world's biggest magazines and newspapers, defining the 'colourful' fashion outlook for this spring. Not to mention the fact that every time someone writes about Prabal, his nationality is mentioned.
Prabal was in the news recently when Oscar-nominated actress Hailee Stein wore a white dress by him to the Golden Globe Awards, and was declared among the best dressed by Vogue and the New York Times. Last week, Vogue did a special feature on five designers actress Annette Bening should consider wearing to the Oscars, naming Prabal. But Prabal is no stranger to dressing up A-list celebrities, of course: last year, First Lady Michelle Obama scored big with fashionistas when she wore two of his designs at major public events, and she wore a third Prabal outfit recently on the Oprah Winfrey Show.
Prabal will present his Fall 2011 collection at the ongoing New York Fashion Week, on 12 February. Once again his collection is one of the most anticipated at the fashion gala. Nepal can look forward to some good press-by-association next week.
Do your homework, RABI THAPA