International fashion has gradually started tilting East. Prabal Gurung, the renowned Nepalese fashion designer and the founder of his eponymous label, recently dressed Kamala Harris. Laura Kim, born in South Korea, is the co-creative director of the couture house Oscar de la Renta. Guo Pei, the brilliant designer from China, gained massive recognition for the iconic yellow dress that Rihanna wore to the 2015 Met Gala. With trailblazers like the above-named, the impact Asian designers are making on global fashion becomes quite conspicuous.
Creations by Asian designers are a view into a world of fashion where remodeling established norms is a ritual and being incongruous is beautiful. There’s color as well as black&white, patterns, prints, and silhouettes that are anything but typical. All’s fun, and everything is very eccentric, with a soupçon of oriental magic squeezed in.
We at The Luxury Closet believe in empowering diversity. We love having our closets full of beautiful, original creations regardless of where they come from. Today, we’re highlighting unique fashion sensibilities and inimitable design techniques with our list of five popular fashion brands founded by Asian designers.
1. Yohji Yamamoto
Androgynous silhouettes, all-black pieces, adept tailoring—Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto needs only the three aforesaid phrases to describe his groundbreaking creations.
The brand Yohji Yamamoto offers a wide range of off-beat creations largely defined by lots of layering, wrapping, and draping. Amid the oversized silhouettes, which of course are very wearable, one can also feast eyes on the toned-down color palette and unconventional aesthetics that this brand extends.
2. Comme des Garçons
Another Japanese designer to break out internationally, Rei Kawakubo is currently one of the most influential designers who’s keeping the industry thought-provoking with her creative, distinctive, and progressive designs. She officially founded the wildly popular brand Comme des Garçons in 1973. Her creations are pretty cool—rife with experimental silhouettes, chiefly voluminous, asymmetrical patterns, and abstract designs that inspire diverse interpretations.
Comme des Garçons is based in Tokyo and boasts a heavy presence all over the world. It tenders a great lineup of contemporary creations enriched with logos and signature branding. A Comme des Garçons wardrobe will be bursting with deconstructed men’s and women’s wear, hype-creating shoes, dramatic handbags, and eccentric accessories.
3. Issey Miyake
Visionary. A small but powerful word that best describes both Issey Miyake and his work. This Japanese designer, born in Hiroshima, certainly has a flair for blending tradition with technology in his awe-inspiring creations. Celebrated for his ingenious pleated pieces, liberating designs, and cutting-edge techniques driven by the latest technology, Issey Miyake is a forerunner of Asian talent on a global platform.
Issey Miyake (the brand) was founded in 1971 as a womenswear label. Today, it is headed by another maverick Asian designer, Satoshi Kondo, who has beautifully taken the brand’s legacy forward. Exploring new, innovative ways of designing in a selection of avant-garde pieces, Issey Miyake remains a dominant fashion brand—one that has never stopped evolving.
Malaysian designer Han Chong had the industry in awe when he launched Self-Portrait in 2013 with a collection of intricately-designed lace dresses and pieces wreathed in floral prints. Playing with texture, fabrics, and patterns, his designs subvert the ingrained idea of couture—presenting luxurious creations free from an exorbitant price tag.
A covetable contemporary brand, Self-Portrait marries a feminine attitude to meticulous constructions. Its refreshing, flattering designs, iconic Azaelea dress, and appealing price point have gained popularity among discerning individuals and many known names like Kate Middleton, Michelle Obama, Beyoncé, and more.
Founder of his widely-loved eponymous label, Kenzo Takada was one of the very first Asian designers who forayed West to explore and work in the fashion industry. Takada established himself with his artistic vision, fun and high-spirited designs, and norm-breaking silhouettes that bring about a sense of freedom.
Between jolly, colorful elements and unconventional construction, Kenzo is a French luxury brand that specializes in producing contemporary ready-to-wear defined by interesting prints, hues, and details. It’s a nod towards casually elegant designs that pursue the idea of wearability—another reason why everyone loves the brand so much.
Movers and shakers like the above mentioned have created a trail that is being, and will be, blazed by many. Yet, when it comes to fair representation of communities in the industry, we are still a little far-flung. However, history shows that talent prevails above all and hence, there will always be a light of hope at the end of the tunnel. Let’s keep shopping the amazing pieces that these talented Asian designers and Asian brands have to offer and thereby empower just not a community but humanity altogether.