It was an exciting evening back in June at the American fashion awards ceremony held at Lincoln Center. Considered by many to be the Oscars of the fashion world, the audience included celebrities Gwyneth Paltrow and Sarah Jessica Parker, along with nearly every top fashion designer. Talk about star power! It was clear who the evening belonged to when up on the stage were three men accepting their awards as the best new designers of the year. Creating the Asian-American tri-fecta were Alexander Wang for accessories, Richard Chai for men’s wear, and Jason Wu for women’s wear.
The Council of Fashion Designers had, for the first time, awarded all three top prizes to Asian-Americans. The fashion council that evening also awarded $25,000 scholarships to three student designers who were of Asian background. It was a proud night indeed!
Mr. Wu, you may recall, earned national and international fame when First Lady Michelle Obama chose one of his dress designs to wear to the inaugural balls the evening Barack Obama became president. the dress is now part of the permanent exhibition of First Ladies gowns at the Simthsonian Institution’s Museum of American History in Washington D.C.
The rise of these Asian-Americans in the New York fashion world is representative of a cultural and demographic change that has been gradually happening since the early ‘90’s. Other members of this trend-setting group include Prabal Gurang, Derek Lam, Thakoon Panichgul, and Phillip Lim.
Since his star turn with Mrs. Obama, Mr. Wu will be traveling back to his native Taiwan in October to bring his designing talents to help develop a residential building. He has also begun a partnership with cosmetics giant Shiseido to develop a line of eye shadow.
Asian fashion designers in America are nothing new. One needs only to look to such trail-blazers as Issey Miyake, Anna Sui, and Vera Wang. This continung influence of the Asian fashion perspective in a fast-paced and ever-changing world will, however, continue to bring with it a unique world-view that can only enlighten and enhance the fascinating world of women’s fashion.
Consider pictures of the following Asian-American fashion designers to accompany this article: Jason Wu, Richard Chai, and Alexander Wang .