Stunning Asian-American-Owned Fashion Brands to Fall in Love With This AAPI Month
This Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we've been digging into the incredible stories behind some of our all-time favorite brands and falling even more in love with what they have to offer.
There's no better time than the month of May to find a new appreciation for some great Asian-American-owned brands, especially in the realm of style and fashion. If you're ready to discover your next go-to, AAPI-founded labels, just keep scrolling.
Claire Ngai moved to the U.S. from China when she was 18 to study journalism, but it wasn't long before she established herself as a powerful force in the world of fashion as well as influencer marketing. Her jewelry brand, BONBONWHIMS, shows just how keen her eye is, with custom-made, colorful Y2K-inspired pieces that tickle the imagination—and which have been spotted on everyone from Megan Thee Stallion and Kylie Jenner to Gigi Hadid.
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CLED is an incredible jewelry brand that's as beautiful as it is eco-friendly. Founded by Seulye Jo, the L.A.-based line takes glass bottles from local restaurants and recycles them into gorgeous hand-formed, one-of-a-kind glass jewelry. CLED stands for conscious lifestyle, earth-friendly and ethical design, and we love the idea of preventing a bottle from winding up in a landfill and instead wearing it as a fashionable accessory.
Flaire & Co.
There's a good reason that Dorothy Deng's Flaire & Co. has been such a viral sensation. Her affordable, hypoallergenic jewelry line was inspired by styles she saw on TikTok, and it comes as no surprise that her pieces have also exploded in popularity on the app. Every piece is water-resistant, skin-friendly piece and under $30, making her rings, bracelets, earrings, necklaces and more ridiculously accessible, without sacrificing style.
(via Flaire & Co.)
Trisha Okubo is an engineer by training, with a Stanford education, so when she founded Maison Miru, she approached the jewelry brand with a unique perspective. She takes inspiration from the aesthetics of architecture, sculpture and fashion and channels them into a love of jewery-making, with an emphasis on pieces that are endlessly mix-and-matchable, while also serving as a mindfulness tool. In Japanese, "miru" means, "to look," and the pieces serve as a reminder to truly see the world, and look at it from different perspectives.
(via Maison Miru)
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If you've ever struggled to find glasses that suit your face, and realized that a one-size-fits all approach didn't work for you, you have to check out COVRY and their innovative eyewear. The brand was founded by Athina Wang and Florence Shin, who found a common frustration in being unable to buy glasses that worked with their face shapes. Together, the duo developed COVRY, a brand that embraces faces of different shapes and sizes, and makes inclusive glasses for all—not just people who fit the industry standards.
When friends Jaquelyn Wang and Claudia Lin couldn't find their dream, go-to bags, they joined forces to create Apede Mod, and make those bags themselves. Apede Mod bags are designed to balance utility with aesthetics, being playful yet elegant, and with great shapes and colors you'll want to carry with you everywhere. Apede Mod is meant to inspire confidence—and they deliever.
(via Apede Mod)
Kinflyte's comfortable, super-supportive posture bras are the pieces we never knew we needed in our lives, and we have Vivian Lee to thank for her innovation. The pieces are inspired by traditional Korean garments to comfortably correct posture, aligning the posture and reducing and preventing back pain all at once (and they're a must, if you're slouchers like us).
Vivek Agarwal is the bold entrepreneur behind the stylish and eco-friendly swimwear brand OOKIOH. It's actually inspired by the Japanese word "ukiyo, referering to the urban, pleasure-seeking lifestyle of the Edo period in Japan, and that comes through in the swimsuits through their feminine, present and adventurous styles. Even more, every piece is made with sustainable fabrics, with relaxed, California-inspired looks that are the perfect combination of modern and classic.
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Find Me Now
Find Me Now is an epic mother-daughter collaboration between industry veteran Su Paek and her daughter, Stephanie Callahan, whose family-owned private label went bankrupt during the pandemic, allowing for a brand new opportunity and a fresh start. The result was Find Me Now, a beautiful fashion brand with an emphasis on sustainable and wearable pieces made to last, made by working with women-owned factories and businesses, and selling only in small boutiques
Designer Jennifer Chun was born in Daegu, South Korea, and in researching her hometown and its rich heritage of textiles, natural dyeing and sustainability, she fell in love with the culture and created her own fashion brand, UNIFORMED. Every piece in the collection is made using only stock and leftover fabric and trims, resulting in stunning pieces that produce minimal waste, all inspired by her Korean roots.
Also curious about AAPI beauty brands? Click HERE to discover the stories behind the companies we love most in 2023.