asian fashion designers
Photography courtesy of Allina Liu

9 Asian Designers You Should Definitely Know About

And just in time for Asian Heritage Month.

Fashion is increasingly evolving. From designers like Sandy Liang, who recently collaborated with Baggu and dropped a collection that sold out instantaneously, to Peter Do, who was appointed creative director of Helmut Lang and is breathing new life into the brand, there’s no shortage of gifted racialized designers. Yet despite these success stories, we’re still living in a time where all the creative directors at Kering are white men — despite an abundance of talent existing outside that demographic.

May marks Asian Heritage Month, a time to reflect on the history and culture of the community. Expanding our knowledge and appreciation of designers — Asian, and beyond — is crucial for a more inclusive and representative fashion landscape. And while every day is a good day to diversify who you’re supporting in the fashion industry, there’s even more reason to carve out space to spotlight Asian designers this month. Here are some Asian fashion designers spanning the diaspora and shaping the fashion landscape, locally and globally.

Allina Liu

Having worked at prestigious fashion houses like The Row and J.Crew, Allina Liu launched her namesake label in 2015, dressing celebrities such as Cardi B, Justine Skye and Awkwafina in her designs. Drawing inspiration from Shibari (Japanese Knot Tying) and 17th-century Dutch portraiture, Liu, a New York-based American Chinese designer, seamlessly blends her influences into the garments.

Her brand not only champions the “girl” aesthetic visually but expands upon the discourse, moving beyond the connotation of girlhood as solely youth and innocence. Infusing her pieces with a unique blend of sensuality and femininity, Liu’s twist — or should we say knot? — on the take is undeniably captivating.

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Supriya Lele

Popular amongst the It girls, with Kylie Jenner being the latest to rock the label, Supriya Lele is a British-Indian designer known for her sari-inspired dresses. The designer, who obtained an MA in fashion at London’s Royal College of Art, has gone on to join the British Fashion Council’s Newgen program in addition to being recognized as a LVMH Prize Fund recipient.

Subversive silhouettes in bright colours and sheer fabrics are quintessential to the brand and are perfect for a night out on the town.

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Soonyoung Kim and Sungeun Um of Marge Sherwood

Touted as a TikTok favourite, this Korean leather goods brand champions ’90s silhouettes. Designers Sungeun Um and Soonyoung Kim created Marge Sherwood, a label named after Gwyneth Paltrow’s character in The Talented Mr. Ripley, with sensibility in mind.

Pieces are designed with a “familiar, yet unfamiliar” ethos in mind and include mid-range priced handbags constructed out of calf leather, featuring long handles and roomy bodies. Meet your next fave everyday bag!

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Caroline Mangosing of Vinta Gallery

Toronto-based Vinta Gallery emerged from a desire to reinvigorate the timeless allure of Filipino fashion. Established by Caroline Mangosing, the designer focuses on slow, sustainable fashion, handcrafted garments and an overall decolonized approach to the design process.

Inspired by cosmopolitan styling seen throughout the 1890s to the 1960s in the Philippines, Vinta Gallery crafts heirloom-quality pieces, with a contemporary twist. Notable designs included a Terno, a commonly worn garment, reenvisioned as a harness, for modern flair.

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Jess Chow and Sunny Fong of Vieren

Having come from a long legacy of luxury watchmaking, Canada’s own Jess Chow and acclaimed designer (and Project Runway Canada winner) Sunny Fong launched Vieren in 2020. The two are the masterminds behind the brand’s signature rectangular watch and are crafted using materials like 18K gold, stainless steel, and sapphire crystal.

The Swiss-made watches feature automatic movement (or in simpler terms, self-winding) and can be engraved — making it the perfect gift for the busy body in your life.

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Hung La of LỰU ĐẠN

Influenced by his Vietnamese heritage, Hung La founded the luxury brand LỰU ĐẠN. The label’s name, derived from the Vietnamese words for “Pomegranate” and “Bullet,” is cleverly combined to form the colloquial term “Dangerous Man.” Hung La, a first-generation Vietnamese American now based in London, refined his skills at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp and gained experience at Balenciaga under Nicolas Ghèsquiere and at Céline alongside Phoebe Philo.

Recently worn by Usher during the Super Bowl halftime show, his collection boasts utilitarian forward silhouettes. Snake motifs add a tough edge to the garments, while meticulous composition remains a hallmark of the menswear brand.

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Edeline Lee

Raised in Vancouver and now based in London, Edeline Lee is a Korean Canadian-British designer who first debuted her brand in 2014 after graduating from Central Saint Martins. Recognized for dressing prestigious figures like Kate Middleton, Gemma Chan and more, Edeline Lee designs with the modern woman in mind.

Craftsmanship is at the core of Lee’s designs, with an emphasis on precision-cut pieces, handmade details and tailored fits. From daytime dresses to evening gowns, Lee’s designs are perfectly posh and suitable for the sophisticated woman.

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Mani Jassal

Born in India and raised in Toronto, Mani Jassal is a Canadian designer known for her unique approach to South Asian attire. A graduate of Toronto Metropolitan University’s Fashion Design program (formally known as Ryerson), she’s gone on to create a formal-forward label with bridal and occasion wear, paired with sister label 91, a ready-to-wear version.

Jassal’s designs have been seen throughout Canada’s media landscape, featured in TV shows such as Jagmeet Singh’s Late Bloomer, and worn by poet Rupi Kaur on her world tours. Jassal’s colourful prints are paired with flowy silhouettes, making the garments ideal for dancing the night away.

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Claire Robertson-Macleod of Tank Air

Los Angeles label Tank Air is created by Bangkok-born Claire Robertson-Macleod whose claim to fame are beloved staples. Worn by celebrities like Bella Hadid, Addison Rae and Olivia Rodrigo, the brand is known for making classics, like a white tank top, that you don’t need multiples of because you simply already have the perfect one.

In addition to foundational wardrobe classics like camisoles and halter tops, Tank Air integrates Thai influences — like flowers such as the plumeria or tiger lily — throughout the collection.

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