Hofstra Pulse Magazine

Asian Designers Take New York By Storm

By: Maggie Stamets and Rachel Carruthers


From Gwen Stefani, to Alexander Wang, to Michelle Obama, the Asian

influence on American fashion is as obvious as the bright colors and bold

prints that trademark the style itself. Cyclical trends in fashion often revolve

around nostalgia, economy and geography. Whatever the trend may be, it will

trickle down through the decades, economic classes and from nation to nation.

America, it seems, is currently reaping trends that stem from the streets of



Styles themselves do not travel alone; designers are flocking to America and

leaving Asian- inspired fashion trends in their wake. First lady Michelle Obama

had a part in creating a high-fashion niche for Asian designers when she wore

Jason Wu’s red gown to the President’s inauguration.


“This had a huge impact on not only Wu’s success as a designer, but on Asian designers in general. It opened up so many doors for young Asian designers; putting the spotlight on an

entirely new culture,” said Hofstra University student and fashion expert Vanessa

Powell. “One of the most prestigious goals a designer can reach is to have an

influential public figure wear your designs. Any designer a first lady wears goes

down in history with the woman.”


After Michelle Obama wore Jason Wu’s gown, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) gave its three top awards to Asian fashion designers; Jason Wu, Richard Chai, and Alexander Wang. The CFDA, also known as the Vogue Fashion Fund, represents the most progressive and young talent, so after awarding these designers, it is no wonder that they have risen to such popularity.


These Asian-American fashion business gurus are devoted to making high

fashion looks available to the lower-income demographic, and not exclusively

public figures. Linda and Esther Chang, owners of the iconic retail store, Forever

21, took fashions from their Korean parents’ small boutique to create a highly

marketable brand and the country’s 122nd biggest private company. The trend

seems to be this: young Asian-Americans refrain from joining large corporations

and instead work to enhance their families’ high-fashion independent clothing

stores and make them accessible to the everyday consumer.


Independent style and beauty gurus are continuing to shape the face of everyday

American fashion through their online blogs and social media outlets. Donna Kim

of DonnaDaily.com has become an influential voice in the fashion world through

her highly accessible style.


“I wanted to create a platform that was a little more

educational a little more intelligent, a little bit more everyday. For women of the

everyday,” said Kim, “Because guess what, I’m an everyday girl.”


Street fashion, or what consumers are actually wearing is easily tracked through Instragram and style blogs such as DonnaDaily.


Women and men are using these sites to track changes in high fashion and

watch as these styles become adapted to street-fashion. In the past year an

increasing amount of trends inspired by Asian street fashion have infiltrated U.S.

fashionista closets. From color, bold prints, to sleek colored dresses and tights,

wardrobes are shifting towards Asian styles.


“Fashion is changing,” Kim said, “Being Asian-American it really is amazing to see designers such as Alexander Wang and all of those Asian designers.”


As Asian fashion influence grows, the wave of Asian immigrants continues

to build. Parsons the New School for Design notes that around 70% of its

international students come from Asia and, even more specifically, 23% of the

1,200 students enrolled are either Asian or Asian-American. This is the first-time

that a prominent increase like this has ever happened. New York City continues

to attract artists from around the world.


“The American fashion industry will always look to other cultures for influence and young talent. I love the fashion business here in New York because we are a melting pot of all different cultures and backgrounds,” said Vanessa Powell. “You don’t necessarily see that in other fashion markets like Paris or Milan. They are much more specific to their city while New York fashion week hosts designers that come from all over the world.”


Fashion fusion is, by no means, a new phenomenon, what consumers are

wearing on the streets of New York to the streets of Tokyo is continually

changing by borrowing and swapping ideas through brands, designers, people

and styles. As Donna Kim said, it is less of a fusion of styles, “it is more of an

immersion of people of different races.”


It is one thing that links us, as a universal form of expression that is seen in every culture and nation.


Donna Kim

Creator of DonnaDaily.com

After completing her undergrad at New York University, receiving her

Bachelors in Media, she went to Columbia to receive a Masters in Broadcast

Journalism. She has been featured in The Village Voice, Racked National,

xoVain, StyleCaster, BeautyHigh, Verily Magazine, Shecky’s, FabFitFun,

and Brides.com. As an on-air lifestyle expert, she has appeared on NBC’s The

Today Show, QVC, New York Live, ABC’s Live Well, and Huffington Post Live. In

2011, she was the lead host and co-producer of Kmart Fashion’s first-ever digital

series called, “What’s Hot” and “Conversations on Style” where she provided

head-to-toe makeovers for real women, interviewed fashion designers, celebrities

and moderated a panel of top industry influencers.


Vanessa Powell

Vanessa is a Public Relations major at Hofstra University. Her dream in life is to

be a global fashion industry influencer through editorial creative direction. Her

passion in life has always been fashion and she works towards it everyday. Her

love of fashion shines through in all that she has accomplished.


– New York Women in Communications Hearst Scholar 2014

– REDBOOK Magazine Fashion Intern

– Shape Magazine Fashion Assistant

– People StyleWatch Magazine Fashion Assistant

– CollegeFashionista Style Guru

– Ralph Lauren Public Relations Intern

– Wardrobe Assistant Stylist for FYI’s BORN To Style (TV Show)

– ASOS Brand Ambassador

– Cameo Public Relations Intern

Twiter/IG: @vanessaLpowell

Blog: www.TheStyleness.wordpress.com



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Hofstra Journalism Student Magazine