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
  • 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 »
  • Argosy University

    Argosy University offers doctoral, master's, and bachelor's degree programs to students through its eight colleges.

    Programs

    • Business Administration (AS) (Online)
    • Psychology (BA) (Online)
    • Business Administration - Accounting (BS) (Online)
    • More...
    Location:
    Phoenix: 2233 West Dunlap Ave., Phoenix AZ 85021
    Argosy University Request Info »
  • Colorado Technical University Online

    A degree from CTU connects you to what matters most: powerful professional network, real-world professional faculty and innovative technology. Once you earn your degree you hit the ground running.

    Programs

    • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN completion)
    • Master of Science in Management - Healthcare Management
    • Master of Science in Information Technology - Network Management
    • More...
    Location:
    Colorado Springs: 4435 North Chestnut Street, Colorado Springs CO 80907
    Colorado Technical University Online Request Info »
  • Animal Behavior College

    Interested in a career as a professional dog trainer? Animal Behavior College is the place to start.

    Programs

    • Veterinary Assistant
    • Certified Dog Trainer Instructor Course
    • Grooming Instruction

    Location: Online

    Animal Behavior College Request Info »
  • Purdue University

    Purdue University offers a strong foundation of tradition and history.

    Programs

    • Master of Science in Communication
    • Master of Science in Education in Special Education
    • Master of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Purdue University Request Info »
  • Liberty University

    Liberty University provides a world-class education with a solid Christian foundation, equipping men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for success in every aspect of life.

    Programs

    • Doctor of Education: Community Care & Counseling: Marriage & Family
    • Doctor of Ministry: Evangelism & Church Planting
    • M.Div: Homiletics
    • More...
    Location:
    Lynchburg: 1971 University Blvd, , Lynchburg VA 24515
    Liberty University Request Info »
  • University of California, Riverside

    The University of California, Riverside
    Transforming Engineers into Leaders

    If you’re seeking to elevate your technical expertise and take on leadership roles in today’s global workplace, the UC Riverside online Master of Science in Engineering can deliver the highly calibrated balance of scientific and business knowledge to help you reach your goals.

    Programs

    • M.S. in Engineering, Materials at the Nanoscale Specialization
    • M.S. in Engineering, Data Science Specialization
    • M.S. in Engineering, Electrical Engineering (Power Systems) Specialization
    • More...

    Location: Online

    University of California, Riverside Request Info »
  • Capella University

    An accredited online university, Capella University offers bachelor’s, master’s/MBA, doctoral, and certificate programs designed to take you to the forefront of your profession.

    Programs

    • DBA - Global Operations and Supply Chain Management (ACBSP-accredited)
    • EdS - Teacher Leader in Digital Transformation
    • MS - Addiction Studies
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Capella University Request Info »
  • Miller-Motte College

    Start the next chapter of your life with an Associate or Bachelor degree from Miller-Motte College Online Division.

    Programs

    • Criminal Justice - Associate of Applied Science
    • Electronic Medical Records - Associate of Applied Science
    • IT Support Specialist - Associate in Specialized Technology
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Miller-Motte College Request Info »
  • Concordia University - Portland

    Concordia University - Portland offers several fully online 14-month Master of Education (M.Ed.) programs and a fully online Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) program.

    Programs

    • M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction Equity, Ethics, and Justice
    • M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: Common Core State Standards Instructional Leader
    • M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: The Inclusive Classroom (SPED)
    • More...
    Location:
    Portland: 2811 NE Holman Street,, Portland OR 97211
    Concordia University - Portland 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.