Asians are transforming the fashion industry. (Illustration by Kell Kitsch, Deakin University)
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These style savants are pushing the world of jawns into overdrive.

It’s about time that we see more Asian representation in fashion. With big names like the Hadid sisters and the Kardashians dominating the scene in recent years, it’s been hard to see through the madness and into the diversity that lies within the industry.

From models to designers to social media influencers, Asian Americans have been transforming the fashion community by bringing their own unique style to the table. Here are nine famous Asian Americans in the fashion world that you need to know about.

1. Anna Sui

Known for her colorful, bohemian prints, Anna Sui is one of the most beloved designers of New York. A child of Chinese immigrants living in Detroit, she attended the Parsons School of Design in the 1970s. Sui launched her first collection in 1981, and her products can be found in 300 stores in more than 30 countries.

Her inspiration comes from a multitude of unique sources: rock ‘n’ roll music, flea markets, art museums, and it’s all with a modern twist. Sui mixes both vintage and modern prints in her clothing to create a kaleidoscope of historical and contemporary influences.

2. Alexander Wang

Born in San Francisco to Taiwanese parents, Wang pursued his passion at Parsons before dropping out to start his own label. Wang describes his label’s vibe as “M.O.D. – models off-duty.” It is sleek, minimalistic and anything but boring.

His newest streetwear collections, such as his collaboration with Adidas, have been a staple in every street-fashion fanatic’s wardrobe. Wang garnered even more success when he became a creative director of luxury brand Balenciaga in 2012. Upon entering menswear, GQ named him the best menswear designer, and his modern sportswear collections continue to inspire both men and women.

3. NIGO (Tomoaki Nagao)

There isn’t really anything that Tomoaki Nagano, also known as NIGO, can’t do. A music producer, DJ and a fashion designer, NIGO is currently taking over the American streetwear market.

In addition to being one of the creative directors of Uniqlo, he founded his own clothing line called The Bathing Ape, or BAPE, in the early ‘90s. The urban clothing line has been highly praised among rappers and teens in both Japan (his homeland) and the U.S. Even though Nagano stepped down from BAPE in 2013, his influence hasn’t ceased.

4. Jenn Im

This Korean-American social media star began her career on the YouTube channel “Clothes Encounters.” With YouTube as her first main medium, Jenn inspired her subscribers with lookbooks, vlogs and styling tips. From there, she started Eggie, her own fashion line.

Eggie’s debut collection, out in 2017, had a diverse blend of both sporty and feminine styles. Jenn continues to come up with affordable and versatile pieces that reflect her unique personal style, which is both effortless and put-together.

5. Aimee Song

Passionate about interior design, Aimee Song started her blogging career in 2008, but eventually applied those skills into the world of fashion. The fashion blog was originally a side project to accompany her schooling, but she found that it could be much more than that.

Now, she has over 5 million followers on Instagram, as well as having published books, one of which is a New York Times’ bestseller. Her blog, Song of Style, receives over 2 million views per month, making Song a living proof that blogging can be both enjoyable and lucrative as a career.

6. ToThe9s

Cassie Masangkay and Ricci Pamintuan make up the dynamic duo of college students, whose signature style and effortless chemistry make them a YouTube sensation. Their channel is unlike any other fashion accounts because of its quality and uniqueness.

The innovative editing in every video reflects both Cassie and Ricci’s styles, which are modern, eclectic and badass all at the same time. They are also strong advocates of thrift shopping, proving that it doesn’t take a lot of money to get a killer outfit.

7. Liu Wen

Liu Wen boasts an astonishing resume as China’s first bona fide supermodel, the first East-Asian model ever to walk the Victoria’s Secret runway and the first Asian spokeswoman to land an international cosmetics contract.

Wen went international in 2007, the year when she was signed to a Parisian model agency; she was walking on catwalks for Tom Ford, Hugo Boss and other big brands the year after. Wen continues to be a prominent figure in high fashion and a pioneer for Asians in the industry.

8. Ming Xi

After studying both acting and fashion design in college, this Shanghai-born supermodel made her mark in the world of fashion. Xi started her acting career in 2016 after being launched into stardom by her achievements in modeling.

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Her infamous fall at the 2017 Victoria’s Secret fashion show was a huge setback for her, but it did not stop Xi from achieving her dreams. She later went on to walk for high-fashion brands like Balmain and Roberto Cavalli, and currently has quite the following on social media.

9. Justine Biticon

This Mexican-Filipino beauty originally rose to fame as a contestant on “America’s Next Top Model.” Despite her lack of success on the show, she is still making it big in modeling and working with popular brands like Nike and Forever21.

Through her open and honest connection with the followers, Biticon allows herself to be the clueless 20-year-old that she is, while showing off her fit figure and trendy street style. Biticon’s Instagram page showcases her unique aesthetic, quirky personality and daring clothing choices, setting her apart from other run-of-the-mill Instagram models.

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