Asian-Americans Climb the Fashion Ladder

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It’s Fashion Week in New York and the city is abuzz with the latest cuts, designers and models walking around.  The New York Times took notice of something different and that’s the recent rise of Asian-Americans in the fashion world, and I’m not talking about the manufacturing.

The mood was set early at the American fashion awards ceremony at Lincoln Center in June, an event often likened to the Oscars of the fashion world, with a guest list that included celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker and Gwyneth Paltrow and almost every top designer.

In quick succession, three men were called to the stage to accept their awards as the best new designers of the year: Richard Chai for men’s wear, Jason Wu for women’s wear and Alexander Wang for accessories.

It was the first time that all three prizes given by the Council of Fashion Designers of America were awarded to designers who are Asian-American. That same night, the fashion council announced three scholarships, each for $25,000, won by student designers of Asian heritage.

Their ascent to the top tier of New York fashion represents an important demographic shift on Seventh Avenue. At theFashion Week that begins here on Thursday, many of the most promising new designers are of Asian descent, a group that includes Mr. Wang and Mr. Wu; Thakoon Panichgul, one of the stars of the documentary “The September Issue,” about Vogue magazine; Prabal Gurung; Phillip Lim; and Derek Lam — names that are increasingly likely to represent the future of fashion.

And the article continues to reveal the influx of Asian students to the big fashion institutions like Parsons and FIT.  For example, nearly 70% of their international students are from Asia.  Koreans are a significant portion of this population and there are prominent designers who are leading the way like Richard Chai and Eric Kim.

Go to the NYTimes.com for the full article.

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