New Generation of Asian American Designers Dominate New York Fashion Week

New York Spring/Summer 2011 Fashion Week kicks off today and Mochi editors will be providing you with exclusive reviews and photos of all the runway glam at the new venue at Lincoln Center. As a recent NYT article brought to light, these days the spotlight is on Asian American designers, who are climbing the ropes and making a name for themselves in the extremely competitive industry. For instance, last June, the awards for best designers of the year went to Richard Chai, Jason Wu and Alexander Wang. This marks the first time that the award was given to three Asian American designers, who are becoming a mainstay in the fashion world. For Chai, Wu and Wang, their emerging success also made an impact in Asia. Wu has been asked to design a residential building in his native Taiwan and is developing a line of eye shadows with Shiseido that will be sold throughout China. Other designers making a mark in the industry include Derek Lam, Peter Som, Phillip Lim, Thakoon Panichgul, who was praised by Anna Wintour in “The September Issue,” and Prabal Gurung, CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist who earned a spot in the CFDA Fashion Incubator program.

With the noticeably large number of Asian/Asian American designers at the Mercedes-Benz fashion week this year, it proves a shift in the increasing popularity of the fashion world in Asian culture. As of recent, 23 percent of the Fashion Institute of Technology’s enrollment of 1,200 students are Asian American or Asian. Rather than the hackneyed medical, law or business career path, more and more Asian Americans are pursuing fashion as the “it” career. As Wu said, “When I was applying to Parsons, my mother had never heard of it…Now, everyone in the generation after me wants to go to Parsons. Fashion has become a more prominent career in the eyes of Asian parents.”

These undeniably talented designers are creating new paths and standards for Asian Americans in the fashion industry and making beautiful garments and accessories for us in the process. As Lam said, “There is this understanding that there is a group of Asian American designers who are coming up in the world, and there is a sense of pride.”