dcsimg
You are here:

Asian-American Community Takes Fashion World By Storm

There is an interesting phenomenon taking hold in the fashion world right now. Young Asian-Americans have long been stereotyped as fast-tracking it into science and medicine careers; now, however, an unprecedented number are making names for themselves in fashion. Yesterday, Ray A. Smith of the Wall Street Journal profiled the phenomenon.

It starts with Thakoon Panichgul, a 34-year-old Thai-born American fashion designer who is the star of The September Issue, a new documentary out about Vogue magazine. He is, however, "just one of a growing number of young Asian-American fashion designers who command growing clout in the fashion world," says Smith. From 26-year-old Jason Wu, whose dress graced the First Lady on Inaugural Night, to the 25 Asian-American fashion designers showcasing their designs at New York Fashion Week (which started yesterday!), there is definitely a trend afoot.

So, what are the reasons behind the trend? One theory is a sort of relaxing of conventional expectations. As the most recent wave of immigrants in the 1960s and 1970s, Asian parents tended to have high hopes of assimilation by way of their children excelling within the conventional fields, pushing their children into business schools or encouraging math and science degrees. Since then, however, things have changed and some parents are taking notice. "These Asian-American parents look around and realize the American dream can be realized in other ways," Frank H. Wu, who wrote Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White, tells the WSJ. "They also realize their children are assimilated and don't face all the barriers that they might have faced when they first came here."

Another theory is borne of rebellion. 36-year-old Phillip Lim, another fashion designer of Thai descent, switched his college major from business to fashion merchandising without consulting his parents first. "They said, 'We worked so hard. We brought you here. Why would you do that? No one looks up at us, we are the lowest class.'?The whole guilt trip," Lim tells WSJ, "but that wasn't going to stop me from doing what I wanted to do." Meanwhile Panichgul who earned a business degree to make his mother happy, only revealed the truth of his passion for design after his line was already in production and couldn't be stopped: "It's a rebelling," he says. "Our generation kind of went the opposite direction of what our parents wanted us to do."

One thing is for sure: years of encouragement to study hard pay off, and may have contributed in no small part to this group of designers' successes. Joanne Arbuckle, a dean at the Fashion Institute of Technology, had only good things to say about Asian students pursuing fashion design degrees. "While she doesn't like to generalize," says Smith in the article, "she finds that students of Asian descent 'come to the table with two things: talent and work ethic.'... She also said some had strong math and engineering backgrounds, 'which is a tremendous benefit to being a designer.'"

No matter what the reason, Asian-Americans are starting to make a huge mark in mainstream fashion, and if the proliferation at Fashion Week suggests anything, it's only up from here.

Search Schools

      
Matching School Ads
  • Ashford University

    You've found Ashford University, where school comes to you. Earn your bachelor's or master's degree online.

    Programs

    • AA/Early Childhood Education
    • BA/Early Childhood Education Administration
    • BA/Education Studies
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Ashford University Request Info »
  • Full Sail University - Online

    Push Your Creativity To The Next Level

    Programs

    • Graphic Design, Bachelor of Science (Online)
    • Internet Marketing, Master of Science (Online)
    • Music Production, Bachelors of Science (Online)
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Full Sail University - Online Request Info »
  • USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

    The MSW@USC is the first top-ranked MSW program offered nationally. Many online programs are limited to certain geographic areas or the availability of courses, making it necessary to travel to campus. Our program can be completed from virtually anywhere without the need to relocate to Southern California.

    Programs

    • Doctor of Social Work
    • Master of Social Work
    Location:
    Los Angeles: 3601 Watt Way, GFS-315, Los Angeles CA 90089
    USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work Request Info »
  • Independence University

    Congratulations! Your interest in Independence University is an important first step toward changing your life. A career-focused degree is the key to a career with a potentially higher income, better benefits, and more satisfaction.

    Programs

    • Business Administration (BS)
    • Business Administration - Human Resources (BS)
    • Business Management & Accounting (AAS)
    • More...
    Location:
    Salt Lake City: 4021 South 700 East, Suite #400., Salt Lake City UT 84101
    Independence University Request Info »
  • Widener University

    Why Choose Widener University?

    At Widener University, we proudly cultivate challenging and culturally diverse learning environments where academics, leadership, and service come first. Our curricula are connected to societal issues and challenge students to take social responsibility for their role in today's global society.

    Programs

    • Masters of Social Work
    • Master of Business Administration
    • Master of Business Administration - Business Process Innovation
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Widener University Request Info »
  • California University of Pennsylvania

    Recognized by the U.S. News and World Report for: Best Online Programs, Bachelor’s 2017, Best Online Programs, Grad Education 2017 and Best Online Programs, Bachelor’s for Veterans 2017

    Programs

    • Legal Studies - Homeland Security (Master of Science) - Online
    • Wellness Coaching (Master of Science) - Online
    • Dual Concentration: Performance Enhancement, Wellness Coaching (Master of Science) - Online
    • More...
    Location:
    California: 250 University Ave,, California PA 15419
    California University of Pennsylvania Request Info »
  • Norwich University - Online

    Earn your Master's degree online from Norwich University.

    Programs

    • Master of Public Administration Online
    • Master of Arts in International Relations Online
    • Master of Civil Engineering Online
    • More...
    Location:
    Northfield: 158 Harmon Dr,, Northfield VT 05663
    Norwich University - Online Request Info »
  • Charter College Online

    You can advance your career with a degree from Charter College Online.

    Programs

    • Certificate - Medical Office Administrative Assistant
    • Certificate - Business Office Administration
    • Certificate - Computer Technician

    Location: Online

    Charter College Online Request Info »
  • Rutgers Business School

    A Rutgers business education prepares students for success – not just in their chosen fields but also in their lives.

    Programs

    • Online MS in Supply Chain Management
    • Master of Governmental Accounting (Online)

    Location: Online

    Rutgers Business School Request Info »
  • University of the Rockies

    Join the community of thought leaders at University of the Rockies. Pursue your graduate degree from the University’s School of Professional Psychology or School of Organizational Leadership.

    Programs

    • MA in Public Sociology
    • Doctor of Psychology, Mediation & Conflict Resolution
    • Doctor of Philosophy, Organizational Development and Leadership
    • More...

    Location: Online

    University of the Rockies Request Info »
  • Matching School Ads

    Quick School Search

    College & Career Search Tools

    • Careers: Unsure about your career path? Study profiles of hundreds of professions.

    • Interviews: Professors and deans sit down with our team to give you unique insights on college life.

    • Military Education: Find only Military friendly online schools and campuses.

    • Student Reviews: Know before you go. Read student reviews on over 2000 accredited colleges. Write your own experience.