1. Tasha Liu, Mainland China
A champion of Chinese design talent, Tasha quit a high-flying job in finance to pursue a career in fashion. As co-founder of multi-brand retail giant Dong Liang, which has stores in Beijing and Shanghai, she created a platform for promising local designers to showcase their wares to the world.
In 2016 Tasha established a young designer showcase called Labelhood under the umbrella of Shanghai Fashion Week. The four-day affair is now considered the highlight of the festival.
2. Lu Yan, Mainland China
This supermodel turned fashion designer founded her own womenswear brand, Comme Moi, in 2013 and has since watched it evolve into one of China’s most successful contemporary labels, stocked by the likes of Lane Crawford and Dong Liang.
Her garments are regularly worn by the likes of Gong Li and Li Bingbing and are popular with Vogue China’s editor-in-chief, Angelica Cheung. Yan, who has over four million followers on Weibo, designs for fashion-forward working women who value simplicity and elegance.
3. Wendy Yu, Mainland China
A business mogul, philanthropist and diehard collector of Barbie dolls, Wendy is the dynamic young founder of Yu Holdings, an investment firm focused on emerging businesses in the fashion, lifestyle and technology sectors. Her more prominent fashion investments include clothing brand Mary Katrantzou and Samantha Cameron’s label Cefinn. Wendy is a dedicated patron of the arts.
She is a member of the Met Gala Committee, supports the Victoria and Albert Museum and is the youngest member of the British Fashion Council’s board of trustees. She can often be seen alongside industry figures Anna Wintour and Angelica Cheung at the hottest soirees around the world.
4. Li Lin, Mainland China
Lin is a force in the business of fashion. She’s the founder and creative director of China’s JNBY Group, which designs and sells contemporary apparel, footwear and accessories across three brands—JNBY, Croquis and Less—each of which caters to a distinct consumer segment.
The group’s mission is to create a “lifestyle ecosystem” that addresses customers’ needs at different stages of their lives, thereby ensuring long-term customer loyalty. Lin oversees the group’s 1,500 stores worldwide.
5. Jenny Kim, Mainland China
This sartorial superwoman has acute foresight when it comes to the future of fashion in China. Conscious that the country’s growing economy is creating a massive middle class, in 2004 Jenny founded EPO Fashion Group, a conglomerate with a mission to provide stylish but affordable products to this ballooning consumer group.
EPO now owns and operates five fashion and beauty brands—MO & Co, Little MO & Co, Edition, Common Gender, and Rec—and has more than 1,000 stores worldwide, including 10 in Hong Kong and seven in Paris.
6. Chen Man, Mainland China
This glamorous visual artist has been called the Annie Leibovitz of China. Her photography has been exhibited around the world and now features in the permanent collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco.
Man’s sphere of influence is broader than her photography, however. She is now considered a style icon and is in front of the lens as much as she’s behind it. She was the first photographer to be invited to the Met Gala as a guest, is a global ambassador for watch brand Hublot and was our own cover star in December 2018.
7. Noor Neelofa Mohd Noor, Malaysia
A household name in Malaysia and known simply as Neelofa, this model, actress and entrepreneur first tasted fame when she won Miss Teen Malaysia in 2010. After dabbling in acting, she launched her successful headscarf label, Naelofar Hijab.
Her company’s headscarves are now sold in more than 37 countries, including Brunei, Indonesia, Australia, the UAE and the UK.
8. Zaireen Ibrahim, Malaysia
The daughter of Penang politician Ibrahim Saad, Zaireen spent a decade working for Malaysia’s Melium Group of high-end shopping malls. She rose to be assistant general manager and worked closely with such top international brands at Givenchy, Saint Laurent, Lanvin and Pucci.
Last year she moved to L’Oréal as corporate communications director, assuming responsibility for YSL Beauty, Lancôme and many more brands. She counts socialites and fellow fashionistas Marion Caunter, Zatashah Idris and Scha Alyahya among her best friends.
9. Ung Yiu Lin, Malaysia
“Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world,” Marilyn Monroe is reputed to have said, and entrepreneur Ung Yiu is a living example. The owner of Shoes, Shoes, Shoes, a leading footwear brand with three stores and a booming online presence, is a fixture on Malaysia’s high-society circuit.
While she focuses on local designers when it comes to her stores, she is regularly invited to events for luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent and La Mer.
10. Melinda Looi, Malaysia
Melinda, whose sister Beatrice is also a respected fashion designer, is known for her avant-garde take on vintage style. Her couture, ready-to-wear and bridal collections are bold and highly decorative, featuring beads, crystals and semi-precious stones.
Melina was invited to show her designs at Contemporary Muslim Fashions, an exhibition staged by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco last year. The mother of four is a “night owl” and will often stay up to 3am when she’s on a creative roll.
11. Kavita Sidhu, Malaysia
This former beauty queen is much more than a bundle of good genes. Kavita, who in 1990 became the first Malaysian to win an international beauty pageant and went on to model for international designers such as Jean-Louis Scherrer and Escada, launched her own silk kaftan label, Kvita, in 2017.
She has also ventured into film—she starred in two popular horror movies in 2004 and 2005—and food, co-owning the upmarket Zenzero Group of restaurants with her husband Roberto Guiati.
12. Vivy Sofinas Yusof, Malaysia
A law graduate from the London School of Economics, Vivy is as sharp as she is stylish. A chronic entrepreneur, she is chief creative officer at FashionValet, a multimillion-dollar e-commerce company she founded with her husband.
She’s also the founder of Duck, a leading women’s accessories brand that specialises in chic headscarves. Vivy, the first hijab-wearing woman to be named a Friend of Louis Vuitton, is a powerful social influencer. She has a popular blog called Proudduck and more than a million followers on Instagram.
13. Pek Lay Peng, Singapore
Pek owns SocietyA, a multi-label fashion retailer that curates up-and-coming Asian designers. Headquartered in Singapore, its mission is to elevate Asian brands and make them accessible to shoppers around the world.
Named Best Dressed at the 2018 Singapore Tatler Ball, Pek, soon to have her third child, manages to maintain great style while running her fashion empire and working as executive director of the Shingda Group of Companies, a Singaporean construction group owned by her family.
14. Dawn Koh, Singapore
When it comes to couture and cakes, Dawn’s credentials are second to none. She’s a graduate of Central Saint Martins and the London College of Fashion as well as Le Cordon Bleu.
Voted Best Dressed at the Singapore Tatler Fashion Awards in 2017, Dawn is known for her cutting edge style—clean lines, and bold twists of colour and texture. She co-founded ultra-decadent cake shop Chalk Farm with her brother Bryan in 2010.
15. Mae Tan, Singapore
This key opinion leader has mastered the business of fashion at just 24 years of age. Mae is creative manager of Surrender, a multi-label menswear retailer that began as a small boutique in Singapore’s Raffles Hotel, and now owns Japanese brand Christian Dada and distributes various men’s brands in Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan.
A savvy media operator, Mae has more than 800,000 Instagram followers under the handle @marxmae and is filming a local content series called Singapore Socials with Netflix. Her father, Dave Tan, runs luxury watch brand Richard Mille Asia.
16. Velda Tan, Singapore
Fashion and food are Velda’s two great passions. The entrepreneur is the founder and creative director of apparel brands Collate the Label, Our Second Nature and Our Mini Nature, and co-owner of trendy lobster shack Pince & Pints with her husband, Frederick Yap.
She’s particularly passionate about empowering women to achieve in business. In 2016, she co-founded Galboss Asia, a networking symposium that brings together entrepreneurial women.
17. Mety Choa, Indonesia
Mety is the trendsetting design talent behind atelier Maison Met, which specialises in made-to-measure bridal, evening and cocktail gowns. Her brand debuted its Blanc collection at New York Fashion Week in 2017, propelling Mety’s designs into popular culture.
Since then her garments have been spotted on the likes of Gwen Stefani, Gigi Hadid and YouTube sensation Desi Perkins, who wore Mety’s Lillie Glittered Rose Gold Gown at the Golden Globes in January.
18. Dian Pelangi, Indonesia
This 28-year-old influencer has more than four million Instagram followers and a successful line of chic, modest womenswear. The founder and creative director of her eponymous brand, Dian is famous for her fashionable interpretations of the hijab.
She graduated from ESMOD Jakarta, a leading fashion and business school, when she was just 18 and held her debut show during Jakarta Fashion Week. Dubbed a pioneer among local Muslim designers, Dian was included in the arts category of last year’s Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list
19. Peggy Hartanto, Indonesia
Peggy is the creative force behind her eponymous high-end ready-to-wear label. She studied at Raffles College of Design and Commerce in Sydney before joining the team at Australian couturier Collette Dinnigan. Peggy returned to Indonesia and started her own brand in 2012.
Since then she has won numerous accolades, including the Harper’s Bazaar Asia New Generation Fashion Designer Award in 2013. Peggy was named in the arts category of Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia class of 2016, and was nominated for last year’s International Woolmark Prize Asia.
20. Monica Ivena, Indonesia
Khloé Kardashian and Tracee Ellis Ross are just two of the many high-profile disciples of Monica’s feminine fairy-tale creations. The designer, who favours whimsical fabrics like Chantilly lace, shantung and tulle, burst onto the scene in 2016 with Wonderland, a collection of evening and cocktail gowns that earned her praise from tastemakers around the world.
Monica’s garments are firm red-carpet favourites with Indonesian A-listers, including Chelsea Olivia, Raisa Andriana, Nabila Syakieb and Andien Aisyah.