Insider Look: The Asia Fashion Collection at New York Fashion Week

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The Asia Fashion Collection gives promising designers from Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan the opportunity to make their runway debut at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tokyo in October and at New York Fashion Week in February. These designers are chosen by the Korea Fashion Association, Taiwan Textile Federation, and Hong Kong Trade Development Council. February's fashion show started when lights illuminated the runway and calming music commenced at 8 p.m. sharp. A model in a collared silk pleated dress strutted out, a chain belt with tassels swaying from her waist with each step. Her eyes were locked on the cameras in front of her as she approached the end of the runway. She stopped to pose before making a sharp U-turn, flipping her blonde hair abruptly as she embarked on the journey back.

A model walks the runway at the Asia Fashion Collection show. Photo credit: Alice Zhu
A model walks the runway at the Asia Fashion Collection show. Photo credit: Alice Zhu

First up was label Vianad ViVi Joanne Anais Dorsbien, designed by Maaku Suzuki. Navy and chartreuse were recurring themes in this art-inspired collection. Classical paintings translated into clothing. The collection featured feminine collared silk blouses and flowy skirts paired with brocade printed tights—perfect for the romantic.

The collection R.Shemiste, designed by Won Ji Yeun, was bolder and louder. I loved how she mixed and matched different textiles in unconventional ways that still looked chic. The music fittingly changed to a faster tempo, alternating between strings and hard rock.

My favorite dress was by Mim Mak’s label Hang, a lemon meringue sleeveless design with an asymmetrical hem that tapered off to one side. Modern yet elegant, Mim Mak’s designs are minimalistic with a neutral color palette. All looks were paired with socks and platform shoes.

Akiko Kishimoto was the second to last designer to present her label, Is, and was easily the highlight of the show. If I could, I would wear practically every piece right off the runway. It was all black, edgy, very Parisian, reminiscent of Yigal Azrouël’s latest collection. My favorite piece was a cropped zippered leather jacket with a cowl neck—incredibly tailored and chic.

The last designer to showcase her collection, Yumiko Sei, featured knitwear-based haute couture. Haute couture collections are different from ready-to-wear, since they’re all about how far the imagination can go by turning abstract ideas into clothes. Her theme for this collection was “Seaming the Present with the Now.” Models wore colorful knitted concoctions that sometimes made them resemble balls of yarn. She played with different fabrics and textures, from wool yarn to crochet.

As the last model exited the runway, the lights dimmed and the music slowly faded out. It was an exhilarating hour that flashed by, and I can't wait to see what these emerging designers do next.

Photo credits: Alice Zhu