Huge Turnout at AsianInNY Fashion Show 2017

Article by Jessica Laiter
Photo by Michael Clubine

Emerging designers, in particular from Asia, are rapidly defining the future of the global fashion industry. Continuing to look at them as beacons of hope, on September 23rd, Asian In NY hosted its annual fashion show at the China Institute in downtown Manhattan, featuring five Taiwanese designers who traveled to New York for the show. Each designer created a unique capsule collection for the event, aptly utilizing this opportunity as a way to earn admiration for his or her brands in a foreign market.

AsianInNY is an organization that focuses on the development of Asian culture in New York City, while China Institute is a major hub for cultivating and teaching Chinese culture in Manhattan. With fashion as a major focus for both institutions, year after year, they introduce talented individuals at New York Fashion Week, hoping to expand people’s horizons one Asian designer at a time. Fashion is a language shared by all, and is one of the easiest ways to break through cultural boundaries and misunderstandings. It is a vehicle for globalization.

The event was preceded by a press conference held at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office of New York as an introduction to announce AsianinNY’s first time partnering with Taipei Cultural Center in New York.

The headliner designer this season were as follows:

Wang Liling is the founder of DARKLIGHTDESIGN studio and creative director of her eponymous label WANGLILING. Wang Liling, well known for her innovation and expertise in the use of unique fabrics and her fascination with the properties of light, has become successful in her own right. Although the life of a designer can be rigorous to say the least, persistence is key. In an interview with Ms. Wang herself, it appeared to be that she was a little exhausted and ready to pick up the pace a little, but only in due time and with the right resources. This collection was new but not without her staples-Ms, Wang is well known for her use of light-reflective materials, and in this collection they took the shape of animals from the zodiac, something that resonates within Wang Liling from her Chinese heritage. Her designs are really something to be reveled, and better yet, intended for those looking for a fashion risk and to take a deeper look, to look beyond the surface. That is the target audience, those looking to see beneath the surface. She is also has a soft spot for children and introduced her new children’s line at this year’s show.

Alexander King Chen is the founder of his eponymous label ALEXANDER KING CHEN. Alexander King Chen, well known in the industry for his cool collected personality, but tough avante garde styles, also hails straight from Taiwan. His styles are more likely to be seen as works of art, and his presentations are skillfully and carefully orchestrated. Watch just two minutes of an Alexander Chen show and you will know you are watching more than a fashion show, you are witnessing the true creative genius of a designer. You cannot take your eyes away, or lift your jaw back into place.

Danny Nguyen, founder of DNC (Danny Nguyen Couture). You couldn’t miss this designer even if you tried. Dressed as if from the 1920’s but with a twist of funk, and a curly mustache to complete the look, the couture designer dresses the part no matter what. Actually hailing from Vietnam and now based in Houston TX, Mr. Nguyen is stirring up the press with his extravagant couture designs.

Edison Lu co-founder of To Be Thrill. To Be Thrill, launched in March 2017 is the collaboration of cosmetologist Edison Lu and Taiwanese celebrity Mike He. The name of the brand is a facetious play on the non-native way of saying “To Be Thrilled,” intentionally leaving of the –ed to emphasize the Chinese non-native English speaker at whom people so often poke fun. The stereotype surrounding people of Chinese origin needs to be eradicated, and there is no better way than through fashion, a platform for self-expression, unchained to the political realm, and a catalyst for conversation on both a micro and macro level.

Jennifer Chen the creative director and co-owner Snowman, a brand launched in 2012 caters to women who value style even during the oh-so-bitter New York winters, is gaining traction in the US market. Her product, which consists mostly of down outerwear, is stocked globally throughout various department stores and boutique stores, catching the eye of New York’s stylish yet practical fashionista. Her collection for this show featured a large range of sleek and puffy winter jackets, all of different lengths and contrasting materials. The collection was sleek, stylish, and most importantly, warm. Her Taiwanese culture influences her designs but incorporate these elements in a way that she can relate to personally while also appealing to the consumer. In her 2017 collection, Ms. Chen added sleeve protectors to a few styles, a style commonly used in Taiwan to protect sleeves from getting dirty.

Wendy Chen the founder and designer of her eponymous jewelry and accessories company. Wendy Chen lit up the runway with her accessory line, a venture she really began as a side hustle to her day job. Having started as an interior designer, she only took up designing handbags and jewelry as a hobby, but they were so well received so well, that it only made sense to convert that hobby into a something more professional. Since Wendy only delivers product for private orders, you know the product is unique and one of a kind. She tries to incorporate her Taiwanese culture into her designs, and really likes to collaborate with other emerging designers.

Each designer brought a different aesthetic to the runway, but whilst most designers are highly competitive, these individuals are a team, mutually supportive of one another’s success as emerging designers in the global marketplace.

As an intermission performance, the audience listened to a selection of musical performances from Melody Yeung and Simon C.F. Yu.

The event began with a cocktail hour featuring vendors and sponsors such as Aloe Gloe, Bruce Cost Ginger Ale, Essentia Water, Kulu Desserts, NOYU Teas, MIKA Japanese Cuisine & Bar, Singha Beer, VIVALOE. The first 200 people received gift bags sponsored by Ministry of Culture, Republic of China (Taiwan), Erno Laszlo, Good Maker Beauty Expert, Jimmy Crystal New York, Sundays Studio, The GRAND at Sky View Par and The Parc Hotel.

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