40 Asian Women Making Waves In The Fashion World (Part 1)
1/20Anaïs Mak, Hong Kong
The designer, a 2016 Generation T Lister, founded her feminine and minimalist clothing brand Anaïs Jourden in 2012. A graduate of the private fashion school Studio Berçot in Paris, Anaïs was a semi-finalist in the 2015 LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers and won Italian Vogue’s emerging designer award the same year. Her label is the only Hong Kong brand on the official Paris Fashion Week calendar.
She’s also off to a strong start in 2019—Ariana Grande rocked a metallic light blue bomber from Jourden in her 7 Rings music video, and this month Anaïs will reveal a line of uniforms she has designed for Hong Kong’s Rosewood Hotel
2/20Victoria Tang-Owen, Hong Kong
The daughter of the late David Tang, Victoria is no stranger to the fashion, art and cultural scene and is a published photographer. With her husband, Christopher Owen, she co-founded the branding agency Thirty30 Creative, and she was appointed late last year as creative director of Shanghai Tang, the fashion and lifestyle label founded by her late father Sir David Tang in 1994.
Whether she’s attending events in Hong Kong dressed by designer friends like Huishan Zhang and Ms Min, or jetting off to fashion shows such as those of close friend Kim Jones, Victoria proves that style runs in the family.
3/20Hilary Tsui, Hong Kong
One of the city’s most celebrated style icons, Hilary boasts more than 192,000 followers on Instagram. With a daring sporty-yet-chic sensibility, she has an iconic look all her own, often mixing designer duds, such as Chanel and Vetements, with the latest sneaker collaborations from Nike.
Hilary and friend Dorothy Hui opened their Liger boutique in 2009, stocking an edgy mix of designers such Toga Archives, Jourden, Petar Petrov and Natasha Zinko. The boutique closed in October last year, but word is that Hilary will be opening her own shop this year.
4/20Christina Dean, Hong Kong
Leading the charge towards sustainable fashion in Hong Kong is Christina Dean, who founded Hong Kong-based NGO Redress in 2007 and is recognised on our 2017 Generation T list. The former dentist and journalist is best known for her work in educating the public on textile waste, launching pop-up shops for clothing exchange, and establishing the Redress Design Awards, the world’s largest sustainable design competition to support eco-conscious fashion designers.
She recently launched the R Collective, a zero-waste fashion label boasting collaborations with emerging sustainable designers that is available at luxury retailer Lane Crawford, and started an initiative with Zara to collect unwanted clothing for recycling.
5/20Dee Poon, Hong Kong
The daughter of retail mogul Dickson Poon and Esquel Group chairwoman Marjorie Yang, Harvard graduate Dee caught the fashion bug early, acting as editor-at-large for fashion magazine iLook before becoming managing director and chief brand officer of Pye, the retail arm of the Esquel, which manufactures luxury shirts for brands such as Hugo Boss and Ralph Lauren.
She is an advocate for a more responsible approach to production by reducing waste, and was a panellist at the New York Times’ International Luxury Conference in Hong Kong in November alongside other industry leaders.
6/20Fanny Tsai, Taiwan
The grand-niece of billionaire plastics tycoon Wang Yung-ching, Fanny has her great uncle’s head for business. She is the founder and CEO of jewellery brand Weng Collection, and also acts as an agent for several European fashion brands, including Chiara Ferragni, LK Bennett and, most recently, Karl Lagerfeld in Taiwan.
Weng Collection was the first Taiwanese jewellery brand to be invited to participate in Bijorhca Paris, a major European jewellery fair, in 2017. Last year she was honoured by Taiwan Tatler as Most Stylish Woman.
7/20Brenda Po-chin Sung, Taiwan
While her family manufactures water purification equipment in Taiwan, Brenda’s world revolves around fashion. The high-society butterfly is the founder and creative director of Inluxe Casa, a leading high fashion and home furnishings boutique.
Her flagship store, located in Taipei, stocks international brands like Christopher Esber, Giamba and Naeem Khan. The Central Saint Martins graduate is close friends with many of the world’s top designers, including Prabal Gurung, Ryan Roche, and Sachin and Babi Ahluwalia, the designers behind Sachin & Babi.
8/20Leslie Sun, Taiwan
The cousin of renowned Taiwanese jewellery designer and socialite Aimee Yun-yun Sun, Leslie is a style stalwart in her own right. In 2014 she founded Sunset, an experimental concept store for functional lifestyle objects. The boutique has since evolved into a creative agency and multidisciplinary project space, where Leslie creates dialogues between art, fashion, music, film and design.
In 2018, Leslie was invited by Chanel to Paris for a photo shoot of their pre-fall collection. She is also the founder and director of the Young Collectors Club of Taiwan, which provides education and social networking opportunities for young professionals interested in learning about and collecting contemporary art.
9/20Wang Li-ling, Taiwan
Since founding her eponymous brand in 2016, the heir to the Kuang Chuan Dairy fortune has presented twice at New York Fashion Week and won praise from the likes of Vogue. Li-ling, who studied material futures at Central Saint Martins, is known for her avant-garde aesthetic.
Her label, Wangliling, fuses tradition with the futuristic, juxtaposing classic techniques like embroidery, beading and weaving with high-tech, photosensitive fabrics, some of which appear to glow in the dark.
10/20Mandy de la Rama-Santos, The Philippines
As a young girl Mandy often accompanied her mother, a clothing manufacturer for casualwear brands like Gap and Marks & Spencer, to their factory. It’s perhaps no surprise, then, that the former model considers comfort key when it comes to personal style.
She loves to pair sneakers with jeans and tees, and isn’t at all consumed by trends. While she once owned and operated children’s clothing line Tarte Tatin, Mandy now works as the creative director at major eyewear retailer Branded Lifestyle as well as marketing corporation Honey Barn, which handles marketing for Sanrio, the creators of Hello Kitty.
11/20Beatrice Panlilio-Valdes, The Philippines
For Bea, whose family has been in the jewellery trade for three generations, design was a calling. She started her eponymous line of embellished evening bags in 2004 and it wasn’t long before US Vogue was hailing them as the must-have It bags of the season.
Her designs have been spotted on the arms of Sharon Stone and Kate Hudson. Bea’s artistry extends way beyond totes and clutches, however. She has worked on interiors for the Shangri-La Colombo and Shangri-La at the Fort in Manila, and last year collaborated with Philippine furniture brand Philux to create a line of whimsical chairs, cushions and cabinets.
12/20Vania Romoff, The Philippines
The granddaughter of Cebu’s first couturier, Vania was born into a family of fashion designers and garment manufacturers. She debuted her first collection at Philippine Fashion Week in 2009 and has since designed bridal and evening gowns for numerous celebrities and members of Manila’s high society.
Known for her feminine, whimsical designs, she opened her first bricks-and-mortar store last year in Manila’s Rockwell Centre.
13/20Leonora Luisa Cabili, The Philippines
It was a cancer diagnosis that motivated this former fashion stylist to follow her dream of becoming a designer. Founded in 2010, her label, Filip + Inna, employs craftsmen from local indigenous tribes to create intricate, hand-beaded and embroidered pieces that recall traditional Filipino dress.
This year, the brand will launch a diffusion line called F + I. Len was a mentor at last year’s Ternocon, a fashion competition spearheaded by the Cultural Centre of the Philippines that champions the country’s national dress.
14/20Amina Aranaz-Alunan, The Philippines
One of the Philippines’ most recognised designers, Amina this year celebrates the 20th anniversary of her accessories brand, Aranaz. Known for its artisanal bags handmade from fibres such as straw, abaca and raffia, the label—founded by Amina, her mother Becky and sister Rosanna—goes global this year, with its latest collection available through Joyce, Bergdorf Goodman and Moda Operandi.
Her designs have been spotted on the arms of Queen Máxima of the Netherlands and Queen Mathilde of Belgium. In addition to her career as a designer, Amina co-founded Makati City’s School of Fashion and the Arts (Sofa), now known as the Sofa Design Institute, and works as its executive director.
15/20Pimdao Sukhahuta, Thailand
Fashion designer Pimdao likes to keep it in the family. A graduate of the Parsons School of Design, she is the creative force behind Sretsis, the womenswear brand she founded with her two sisters, Kly and Matina (Sretsis is “sisters” spelt backwards).
The brand, which has stores in Tokyo and Bangkok, crafts whimsical, feminine silhouettes with modern, quirky twists. Pimdao is married to Pierre-Alexandre Darbois, who works for the company as its international sales and business development manager.
16/20Orawan Setabandhu, Thailand
Considered one of Bangkok’s most stylish women, designer and entrepreneur Orawan has loved fashion since she was a child. She founded Olivia Diamonds in 2005, which is known for its contemporary, sculptural take on jewellery.
To make her creations accessible to younger generations, Orawan recently launched a diffusion accessory line, OLVD by Olivia Diamonds, and a line of good luck charms called Leila Amulets. Half the profits from each amulet sold are donated to charity. Last year, the mother of two opened No 209, a spa offering remedial and slimming massage therapies.
17/20Vatanika Patamasingha Na Ayudhaya, Thailand
Impeccable tailoring and feminine silhouettes are at the core of Vatanika’s eponymous womenswear and accessories brand, of which she is creative director. Her designs have won her many celebrity admirers, including Miranda Kerr, Jennifer Lopez and Cara Delevingne. Vatanika, however, has become a celebrity in her own right after starring in the reality show This is Me Vatanika, which has been called the "Thai version of Keeping Up With The Kardashians".
Constantly surrounded by a coterie of hipsters and high-profile friends, Vatanika shares the ins and outs of her jet-setting lifestyle with over 770,000 Instagram followers. A collaboration with Franck Muller is apparently in the pipeline.
18/20Disaya Sorakraikitikul, Thailand
While studying at Central Saint Martins, Disaya was given the opportunity to intern with John Galliano. The experience spurred a love affair with high fashion and it wasn’t long before Disaya launched her own brand. What began as lingerie label Boudoir by Disaya in 2004 has expanded into ready-to-wear and costume jewellery.
Disaya is married to fashion entrepreneur Danai Sorakraikitikul of A-List Corporate, the importer and distributor of Valentino, Jimmy Choo, Chloé and Giuseppe Zanotti.
19/20Pranapda Phornprapha, Thailand
Missoni, Berluti and Christian Louboutin are just some of the major international brands distributed by Pranapda’s company, Paroshoot, in Thailand. “Our vision has always been to get in bed with boutique brands with a heritage, and preferably brands that are still being managed by their founders/owners,” Pranapda says.
The Brown University graduate is simultaneously a director of Siam Motors and runs her family’s Yamaha Music School. She’s a keen advocate of women’s rights and this year plans to launch a women’s social space to support and empower other entrepreneurial women.
20/20Liu Wen, Mainland China
Dubbed “China’s first bona fide supermodel” by the New York Times in 2012, the statuesque Wen is used to firsts. She was the first Chinese model to appear on the front cover of American Vogue, the first model of East Asian descent to walk in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, the first ambassador of East Asian descent for beauty giant Estée Lauder, and the first Asian model to make Forbes’ annual list of highest-paid models.
She has appeared in campaigns for Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabbana, Roberto Cavalli, Oscar de la Renta, Hugo Boss and Alexander Wang, to name a few.
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