Asian names are well established on the fashion catwalks in America, and a new wave of Asian designers already accomplished at home hopes to follow suit at New York Fashion Week. The newest designers to arrive are Asian-born and Asian-trained, looking to make inroads in the lucrative U.S. fashion market.
Their early predecessors, by comparison, had Asian heritage but were U.S.-born and U.S.-trained designers. One of the best known is Vera Wang, known for her wedding gowns and who recently designed one for celebrity Kim Kardashian. Then came designers born in Asia but trained in the United States, such as Jason Wu, whose styles have been worn by first lady Michelle Obama.
The newest wave brings a stronger sense of their own cultures, mixed with Western sensibilities, said Lie Sang Bong, who founded his brand Lie Sangbong in 1985 in South Korea.
While expanding into the U.S. market, these designers are keeping a foothold in Asia, where China is set to overtake the United States as the world’s largest apparel market by 2017, according to market research firm Euromonitor.
Meet some of the Asian designers we’re looking forward to seeing at New York Fashion Week’s Fall/Winter 2015 collections:
The Korean born designer, Ji Oh, debuted her spring/summer 2015 collection at Industria Superstudio in the Meatpacking District during New York Fashion Week. She presented seven concise looks inspired by the legends of rock and roll mixed with the attitude from the boys of the 90’s ‘Vouging’ balls.
Inspired by the potent sophistication of 1930s Hollywood, the Josie Natori Spring/Summer 2014 collection captures the eternal style of this glamorous fashion moment, envisioning modern life through the enchantment of the silver screen. Bias-cut gowns; metallic raffia and liquid jersey; noir-inspired black and white geometric patterns; and pale, feminine pastels in soft silks, satins and chiffons reimagine the screen siren lifestyle—alluring ensembles for the boudoir, cabana, stage and red carpet. “Hollywood’s iconic beauties and exotic rebels fueled my inspiration for this collection,” says Josie Natori. “Like the East, Hollywood evokes intrigue and imagination; it offers a rich palate of style from which a modern woman can curate her own starring role.”
While surfing in Far Rockaway, Siki Im had a revelation. He’d been sketching for his Spring 2015 collection, drawing from his love of robots and robot toys to create bionic shapes, but out there in the water his thoughts went to another place. “When you’re in the ocean, you don’t have your phone on you and you get this paranoia—it’s called nomophobia,” Im said backstage after the show. Once he got used to it, the purity and freedom he found by being away from mobile contact were inspiring. From there he envisioned clothes that felt organic and airy, juxtaposed with the stiff two-dimensional robotic shapes he’d been working with.