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Michelle Obama’s Go-To Designer Collaborates With Toms

Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama wore a dress designed by Prabal Gurung to the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner in 2010. Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty; Inset: D Dipasupil/FilmMagic

Style with substance. Prabal Gurung is teaming up with Toms for a partnership that has meaning to the Nepalese designer. For every pair of shoes purchased, Toms will donate $5 to Gurung’s charity, Shikshya Foundation Nepal, which supports education for underprivileged children and helps relief efforts within the South Asian country. The four styles, which range from $59 to $129, are available now at

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Because the designer has already received plenty of love from Michelle Obama, Sarah Jessica Parker and Zoe Saldana over the years, he wanted to use his platform for a greater good. “I had an audience, so why not deflect all the attention that was coming to me to a cause that needs it more than I do?” Gurung, 37, told Vogue. “What I realized is that the only reason a boy like me from Nepal could dream big and come to a country like America, and think I could make a living and a name for myself, is simply because I was educated and had the opportunity to go to good schools. Education gave me the freedom to dream bigger.”

Courtesy Vans

An important collection like this required Gurung to be as hands-on as possible. He even traveled to Nepal with the Toms team. “Not many people have gone to Nepal, especially from fashion, and so when they wanted to go, I was beyond excited,” he continued. “I wanted to take them on this tour and let them see where I’m from, the culture where I’m from.”

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That culture is reflected in the collaboration, which boasts a red, white and black palette and vibrant patterns that speak to his target demo. “[The Gurung woman] is a curious person; she’s an explorer,” he noted. “So I kind of wanted to bring this to her — she may not have been to Nepal, but I wanted to bring this idea of ‘Where’s this reference from?’ ‘What does this mean?’ to the conversation.”

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And it looks like the Gurung women won’t be the only people stepping out in these shoes. “I normally don’t say this, but I’m dying to wear them!” he said.

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