In the age of social media, consumerism (or putting your money where your mouth is) is one of the best approaches to supporting the diverse people that are both in your network and beyond it. May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and one crucial way to celebrate how these communities have enriched the U.S. culture is by supporting the Asian-American designers and fashion industry players who are doing something exciting. Of course, there are well-known figures who have made long-lasting marks, Phillip Lim, Joseph Altuzarra, Alexander Wang, and Vera Wang to name a few. But today, consider also a few lesser-known, up-and-coming names that are making a splash.
New York and Los Angeles have long been hubs for buzz-worthy talent and many of the designers you'll see below hail from these metropolitans. There's a jewelry designer working with up-cycled materials to create cool candy-like earrings with major editorial buzz, a design duo that's keeping fabric out of landfills and producing premium knitwear in its place, and you'll even encounter a handbag designer who's teamed up with artisans in Indonesia to create adorable mini purses that you'll want to carry all summer long. Bottom line: these nine Asian-American designers should most certainly be on your radar. Continue on to learn more and shop to support their brands.
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Asian-American Designers To Support: SVNR
Chinese-American designer Christina Tung founded SVNR in Brooklyn with a commitment to sustainable production practices and conscious consumption. Her pieces, which now include a range of earrings, barrettes, and necklaces, are designed from re-purposed materials that have an aesthetic that nods to arts and crafts. If you need a new piece of statement jewelry this should be on your radar.
Asian-American Designers To Support: YanYan
YanYan Founders Phyllis Chan and Suzzie Chung launched their direct-to-consumer knitwear brand that uses leftover factory yarns with the goal of keeping them out of landfills. The label is a candy colored assortment of fun, wearable pieces like cardigans, matching sets, and even a pair of chartreuse bike shorts.
Asian-American Designers To Support: Claudia Li
This New York-based designer is a mainstay in the contemporary scene thanks to her unexpected silhouettes and striking colors, prints, and textures. Li is a go-to for artful statement pieces that can seamlessly match your wardrobe staples.
Asian-American Designers To Support: Sandy Liang
Sandy Liang is one of those downtown New York designers that helped launch the return of cult styles like the fuzzy fleece pullover. Her pieces are trendy, but also somehow anti-trend and the whole vibe of the label is like an ode to cultivating your personal style no matter how weird or wacky that might look. She launched the brand in 2014 and since then has garnered a huge following in the fashion world with stockists like Net-a-Porter, Shopbop, and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Asian-American Designers To Support: KkCo
This on-the-rise label is designed by Kara Jubin and based in Los Angeles. The collection incorporates unexpected pops of color in interesting silhouettes and textures like a sheer cotton candy pink floor-length dress and tie-dye sweats with piercings. It's a can't-miss brand if you're looking for something unique and fresh.
Asian-American Designers To Support: Pattaraphan
Pattaraphan translates to "beautiful skin" in Thai, which makes sense why designer Pattaraphan (Nok) Salirathavibhaga creates her assortment of minimalist essentials that enhance the every day. She works with local independent businesses and produces in limited quantities to avoid waste.
Asian-American Designers To Support: Alfeya Valrina
After graduation from FIT in New York and FIDM in Los Angeles, Alfeya Valrina founded her namesake label in Jakarta. Her bags are all handmade by artisans and the materials are ethically sourced and found locally. The top-handle bags come in a splashy assortment of prints and textures including cheetah, lime green, corduroy, and patent leather.
Asian-American Designers To Support: Mijeong Park
Originally from Korea, designer Mijeong Park launched her Los Angeles-based label in 2015. She's since become know for pairing of modern silhouettes with neutral color tones. It's a minimalist's dream come true and every piece feels elevated and versatile.
Asian-American Designers To Support: Senreve
Coral Chung and Wendy Wen products are handcrafted in Florence, Italy and have a loyal following from the likes of Jessica Alba, Emma Roberts, and Chiara Ferragni. The direct-to-consumer model allows them to work with the luxe materials while offering all of their bags below $1000.
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