For fashion lovers, the idea of restricting one’s style to fit a singular definition can seem both daunting and unnecessary. After all, who can distill themselves into one thing? This idea is comparable to how non-white people in America can be boxed into preconceived notions or stereotypes and how immigrants from all over the world are forced to assimilate into a single culture in order to survive. For Asian Americans, their nationalities, ethnicities, cultures, and even styles have been distilled into one description that’s deemed acceptable (or what’s been coined as “the model minority myth”) in a social hierarchy based on white supremacy.
If you’re wondering how this is related to fashion, then allow us to use our platform to remind everyone that fashion has always played a role in both maintaining and disrupting the fabric of society.
In fact, clothing has been a political tool used during the civil rights movement and suffragette movement to amplify descent and intention beyond their words and actions. Simultaneously, the fashion industry has upheld xenophobia and racism, with examples including caricature fashion campaigns around Chinese people and Black stylists being unable to pull clothing for their clients. In an industry that has the power to influence the status quo, it’s more important than ever for brands to take a stand to stop anti-Asian hate crimes and recognize the full scope of the humanity, richness, and beauty that exists within these multifaceted communities.
As history has shown us, change won’t happen overnight, but a few designers are putting in the work now and speaking out in an effort to break this devastating trend of violence. Ahead, you’ll hear from seven designers of various descents about the work they’re doing to uplift and change the lives of fellow community members within the fashion industry and beyond.