PG: I was completely overjoyed and surprised and so grateful. What I was really excited about also was when Dr. Biden, the First Lady, and our first female Vice President Kamala Harris were wearing other designers, whether it was Christopher John Rogers, Jonathan Cohen, Kerby [Jean-Raymond], Sergio Hudson, or Markarian. Finally, you know, American fashion, has a stage and a worldwide lens, because the beautiful thing about American fashion, I always say this, is the conscience of the global fashion industry lies here. We are the first ones to have the conversation about every kind of ism. We are always the first ones to talk about diversity and inclusion. And to see all of my friends and my peers being celebrated, I was tweeting, Instagramming, and texting them and I was like, I’m happy for you, but I’m happy for us, because it’s a collective success.
NP: I was looking back over your many collections and I noticed something I wrote in a fall 2017 review. You told me that you got blowback for being political on Instagram at the time. Do you still get blowback and if not, how do you chalk up the change that has happened in that span of four years?PG: For me it was always human issues, you know, it was not political. I’ve always been very vocal about diversity and inclusion, equality, and social and racial justice, and I often would be told that I should keep quiet and just be a designer. But it’s changed a lot and it feels great to see this industry having a conversation. No longer, you know, are fashion and substantive conversation mutually exclusive. Now, we’re entering a new era, where just making clothes is no longer enough. You have to stand for something.
PG: On social media that’s the easiest thing to do: use my platform to give voices to the activists who’ve been working on the ground. While I may have access, I may not have all the knowledge that they do. Just sharing the platform has been really great—and learning. I wrote an article a year ago in the Washington Post about the need for Asian and Black solidarity, and how the Asian diaspora needed to show up and do more work during Black Lives Matter. Cut to a year later with all this Asian hate and it’s become even more imperative. So I’m working very closely with various organizations to create coalitions and joint projects. It is important that we develop solidarity between every marginalized group. That is the only way we can combat racism and white supremacy. Me and my peers, we came into this industry with not many role models to look up to, not many mentors from within our diaspora. I want to break that, I want to make sure that the generation next, they have access to us.
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