May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in the U.S., which recognizes the contributions people of Asian, South Asian and Pacific Islander descent have made in American culture. During a year in which Asian Americans have faced a rise in discrimination and hate crimes, it feels especially important to highlight and celebrate the positive impact that so many diverse global cultures have made on creative industries—not just here, but all around the world. The fashion industry in particular has been enriched by countless Asian designers, from innovators like Issey Miyake and Comme des Garçons’ Rei Kawakubo, to up-and-comers like Commission and Terrence Zhou, all of whom incorporate elements of their heritage into their designs in different ways. Here, a primer on some of our favorite Asian, South Asian, and Pacific Islander-owned brands from around the world to know and shop—now, and always.
W Shop is W Magazine’s shoppable guide to editor-approved buys in fashion, beauty, wellness, and lifestyle. We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
This New York-based brand was established in 2018 by Huy Luong, Dylan Cao, and Jin Kay, all of whom draw inspiration from the ways their Asian mothers dressed in the late 80s and early 90s.
British-Indian designer Supriya Lele’s slinky, modern designs made her a finalist for the 2020 LVMH Prize.
Minju Kim, Korean designer and winner of Netflix’s first season of Next in Fashion, designs easy, mood-lifting womenswear.
Issey Miyake’s signature pleating technique has inspired countless other designers since its inception in the early 1990s.
New York City-based Sandy Liang draws inspiration from her Chinese roots for her sporty-femme designs.
Drawing on his design background, the Antwerp-based Korean designer Hyein Seo puts a Y2K spin on technical fabrics for just the right amount of edge.
Yuhan Wang’s ethereal, artistic pieces are inspired by traditional Chinese ideas of femininity and their connections to Western Culture.
New York-based designer Peter Do immigrated from Vietnam to the US when he was 14. After working at Celine and Derek Lam, he started his own brand with a collective of friends that focuses on precise tailoring and construction.
Zhenya Kim’s collections for her brand, J.Kim, are rooted in traditional Korean clothing—which she presents with a modern twist.
KKCO makes sporty, playful designs in limited batches in Los Angeles (think utility vests with ruffled accents and terry cloth wrap skirts).
Known for her cut-out knitwear, designer Rui Zhou makes wearable pieces that balance fragility and strength.
Rokh designer Rok Hwang was born in Seoul and raised in Austin, Texas. His innovative pieces—now designed in London and shown in Paris—reflect a wholly modern outlook.
Chinese-American designer Jessica Tse makes playful, delicate jewelry inspired by a life spent between New York City and Florence, Italy.
Chinese-American designer Sarah Law’s handbag line, Kara, embraces a sense of fun, pairing minimalist silhouettes with opulent details.
Sacai, founded by the Japanese designer Chitose Abe in 1999, feels just as cutting-edge today as it did then.
After showing her first collection as part of Chromat’s SS19 Saturation Show, Anna Kikue continues to create classic pieces with an underlying edginess that amplify personal style.
New York-based Chinese fashion designer Terrence Zhou creates geometrical silhouettes and designs that are truly one of a kind.
Prabal Gurung, a New York-based designer of Nepalese descent, has always made a point of supporting both the NYC economy (by manufacturing 80 percent of his pieces there) and his ancestral home, by raising money for local schools and earthquake relief efforts.
Half-Chinese designer Lauren Bucquet started her buzzy accessories line in 2018, after 10 years as the lead shoe designer for Rag & Bone.
Designer Suhani Parekh’s pieces are inspired by her interactions with contemporary art and the various architectural styles of the cities she has visited.
Simone Rocha continues to pave the way for a “youthful, rebellious aesthetic” with ladylike embellishments that are always a welcome touch.
Comme Des Garçons
The pioneering Japanese label headed by Rei Kawakubo remains an innovative, radical force in the fashion world with her continued range of original pieces.
Private Policy, a label based between Shanghai and New York from Chinese designers Haoran Li and Siying Qu, is an elegant fusion of Chinese heritage and New York street style.
Hung La and Léa Dickely founded their label Kwaidan Editions with the mission of creating freedom from boundaries, constructs, and expectations.
Inspired by the street style of ‘80s and ‘90s Seoul, Hyunwoo Kim and Myungjun Shin design everyday pieces with a twist.
Chinese-American designer Christina Tung’s jewelry and accessory brand SVNR mixes natural materials with found objects to create pieces inspired by the color palette of Kyoto and the porcelain craftsmanship of Indonesia.
Founded by an L.A.-based duo, this brand makes evening wear fun again.
W Shop brings you the editor-approved buys we can’t get enough of and think you’ll adore, too. Best of all, you can shop all of the products above directly on this page without visiting multiple retailers. Simply click on an item to learn more, choose your size or favorite color (if applicable), and then hit “add to cart.” When you’re done, you can click over to your cart in the top right corner of your screen to purchase all your stellar selects at once. How easy is that?
Questions about shipping, returns, or your order in general? Click here for more information.
This article was originally published on