Chinese Americans in Fashion

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By Grace Fardella

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This is Week 39 of AsianWeek’s salute to Chinese American heroes, in strategic partnership with Chinese American Heroes, a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to documenting the contributions of Chinese Americans to America and the world.

In this week’s series, we are celebrating Chinese Americans in fashion. In the past few decades, Chinese Americans have gained a strong foothold in this Caucasian dominated profession. They range from designers with outstanding work and longevity such as Anna Sui, to cutting edge young designers like Alexander Wang, who collectively dominate many of the pages of fashion magazines today.

Chinese Americans have had an important impact in fashion, bringing Chinese culture and imagery to the masses while also contributing to philanthropic causes. Through the fashions produced by these Chinese American designers, people around the world can be seen wearing clothing that proudly merges traditional Chinese styles and images with modern clothing sensibilities.

We begin this week with one of the first well-known Chinese American designers, Anna Sui. Sui is a fashion designer and author who received international recognition and acclaim for her designs. A staple of the fashion world since the 1980s her designs are featured in over 300 sales outlets in 30 countries.

Next is internationally renowned wedding dress designer, Vera Wang. Best known for her stunning and sophisticated bridal gowns, Wang has been designing dresses and working in fashion since the 1970s. She currently has several fashion lines that appeal to a wide variety of clientele and her designs are often fawned over by celebrities in real life as well as in television and movies.

We will also explore the achievements of fashion designer, Vivienne Tam. Tam is a Chinese-born fashion designer whose designs often include elements from traditional Chinese imagery and culture. Tam has also displayed her business talents by creating her own successful design company, East Wind Code, Ltd.

Also featured is Alexander Wang, one very talented future hero in fashion. At the tender age of 25, Wang has impressed the whole fashion world with his daring designs. In his few short years in fashion, he has already won numerous prestigious fashion awards and his label is now prominently featured in most high-end department stores. He is also the favorite of young Hollywood fashion icons such as Lindsay Lohan and Rachel Bilson.

The innovation and creativity of these fashion designers should put to rest the old and tired stereotype that Asians, including Chinese Americans, can’t compete on an equal basis with anyone in the world.  The fact that so many Chinese American women are making a major impact in this field is a special point of pride.

For information about Chinese American heroes, please visit the Chinese American Heroes website at www.chineseamericanheroes.org.

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