5 Asian Designers That Are Shaking Up the Fashion World

Karen Alfonso , 22 Dec 2013
Asian Origin Designers
Asian Origin Designers

Fashion has always been traditionally associated with Paris and Milan and why not? That was the hotbed of couture and trends with designers such as Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Elsa Schiaperelli and Yves Saint Laurent to name a few. The new wave of designers came in the form Gianni Versace, John Galliano and New York became another major player in the fashion scene with the likes of Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger. Now, the main players are Asian origin designers who are taking over the world with their beautiful designs. We list some of them who have just entered the industry and have switched things up.

Jason Wu:
Jason Wu (photo courtesy | NetRobe)
Jason Wu (photo courtesy | NetRobe)

This young Taiwanese-Canadian was catapulted into fame when First Lady Michelle Obama chose his one-shouldered white gown for the inaugural ball for the first time President Barack Obama was elected, she picked Wu again when her husband won a second term in office, wearing a fiery red gown.

Michelle and Barack Obama (photo courtesy | AFP)
Michelle and Barack Obama (photo courtesy | AFP)

Born in Taiwan and raised in Canada, Wu was destined for a career in fashion design when he began outfitting his doll is various outfits. His mother was supportive of his talent – buying him dolls first up was a Bob Mackie doll and the second a Dior one. She even bought him his first sewing machine and hired a fashion student to teach him how to sew. After studying, illustration at Parsons in New York He went soon he actually began to design dolls for a Japanese toy company. He used all his earnings from his job to launch his label and 26 became a household name thanks to the First Lady. Wu has collaborated with cosmetics giant Lancome (a distinction only the fashion brand Lanvin has) and earlier this year he was appointed the Creative Director of German label Hugo Boss.

Prabal Gurung:
Prabal Gurung
Prabal Gurung

Prabal Gurung impressed me way back with his first ever collection. The Nepal born, Singapore raised designer learnt the ropes of fashion right here at NIFT in Delhi. He followed it up with an internship under king of kitsch Manish Arora before heading to New York. He began working under Cynthia Rowley and Bill Blass. Gurung then launched his eponymous line in 2009. Prabal’s designs have found fans in the likes Sarah Jessica Paker, Zoe Saldana, Demi Moore,  Anne Hathway, Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama and Kate Middleton. Closer home, Deepika Padukone and Sridevi have been spotted wearing his colourful designs.

He was tapped to design beauty giant retail store Sephora’s uniforms and for Japanese label ICB. A self-confessed Bollywood fan, he was spotted rubbing shoulders with Karan Johar, after being invited to attend his birthday celebrations.

Bibhu Mohapatra:
Bibhu Mohapatra
Bibhu Mohapatra

Bibhu Mohapatra was born and raised in Orissa, India and then decided to study Economics in USA. After earning the degree from the Utah State University, Bibhu moved to New York and pursued a degree in fashion design at the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology or FIT as it is popularly known as in 1997.

His talent caught the eye of Halston and he hired Mohapatra just after college as an assistant designer. He then moved to J.Mendel and helped transform the label to attract a younger clientele. For over 10 years, he was the Head Designer and oversaw everything till he left to start his own eponymous line in 2008. Bibhu hasn’t forgotten his roots, he launched a line that promoted traditional Orissa weaves. His clothes have a certain romance mixed with beautiful prints.

His collections have been worn by Shraddha Kapoor, Glenn Close, Gwyneth Paltrow, Michelle Obama and has even showcased at LFW.

Alexander Wang:
Alexander Wang (photo courtesy | Modacycle)
Alexander Wang (photo courtesy | Modacycle)

When Wang entered the fashion scene – he shook things up with his minimalist designs that had a grunge vibe.  Born to Taiwanese immigrant parents, Wang’s upbringing in San Francisco would reflect in his designs.  He recalls that at the age of 3, he used to sketch shoes on napkins while at restaurants.  At 18, he enrolled to Parsons and launched his very own label at the age of 20. His first ever collection impressed CFDA that he was awarded $2000 to fund his very own line. His bags have begun must-haves and his stretchy comfy t-shirts have made this humble item a luxury piece and has spawned a diffusion line called T by Alexander Wang. His label has seen a massive growth – with plenty of flagship stores being opened around the world.

Last year, he was announced as the Creative Director for the French fashion house Balenciaga, replacing Nicolas Ghesquière. His first collection, was widely applauded for his return to the DNA of the brand.

Amrita Puri and Priyanka Chopra have been snapped wearing his clothes.

Derek Lam:
Derek Lam
Derek Lam

Derek Lam was born to Chinese-American parents and his first brush with fashion came owing to his family business of importing garments and wedding dresses. He enrolled at New York’s Parson’s college and subsequently started working under Michael Kors. He left Kors to pursue his own line and made his debut in 2003.

Lam won the CFDA Perry Ellis Awards Swarovski Young Designer Award for new designers. He was also appointed by Tod’s to be their Creative Director in 2006. At Tod’s he was responsible for introducing many bags such as the Signature collection, that became an instant hit. He left the Italian luxury house last year in 2012, to expand his fashion empire.

View some of his collections here:

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