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18 AAPI-Owned Fashion Brands to Shop for the Coolest Clothes, Shoes and Bags

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May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and what better way to celebrate than by supporting and amplifying the AAPI community? Since the pandemic, there's been a disturbing uptick in violence against Asian Americans. More than 6,000 incidents of anti-Asian discrimination were reported to Stop AAPI Hate between March and December of 2021 (which was a 15 percent increase from 2020). There’s so much you can do to support this community right now, whether you volunteer your time to protect the elderly or donate your funds to national organizations like the Asian Pacific Fund or AAPI Women Lead. Another great option is to invest in AAPI-owned businesses—and yeah, buying a cute new bag from Kara or some cheerful baubles from Bonbonwhims totally counts. Ahead, we rounded up 18 of the coolest AAPI-owned fashion brands to shop from, many of which are indie or up-and-coming, so you can proudly say that you were an early supporter of these amazing designers.

8 Asian-Owned Beauty Brands to Shop and Support Now


Clothing

1. Léze The Label

For an elevated WFH wardrobe that feels like PJs but looks boardroom-ready, there’s truly no better brand than Léze the Label, which was founded by Tanya and Karen Lee. This Vancouver-based duo proudly produces their tailored sweatshirts and matching skirts (and Oprah's favorite trousers) in China and want to debunk the myth that “Made in China” means you’re getting something of lesser quality. Trust us, once you get your hands on their plush, sustainable garb, you’ll understand that couldn't be further from the truth.

Our picks: Isla Midi Skirt ($95); Athena Sweater ($108); Kendall Pant ($108)

2. Sundae School

Here’s a brand that will impress even your coolest niece or nephew (or, you know, your entire TikTok following), so long as they’re over the age of 18. Sundae School co-founders and lifelong friends, Dae Lim and Mia Park, were born in South Korea and emigrated to the United States as teens...and, not long after, formed a bond while smoking weed together at boarding school. They’ve since created a full-fledged 4/20-friendly brand they refer to as “smokewear,” though you don’t have to light up to wear it. Think: an ivory pocket tote bag (to stash your goods) or a mesh top with bold prints symbolizing cannabis in collab with artist Haein Kim.

Our picks: Checkered Faux Furry Bucket Hat ($49); Purple Burning Love Pullover Fleece ($150); Dacheong Fleece Zip Up ($355)

3. Sandy Liang

Sorry Patagonia, but fleece jackets weren’t cool before Sandy Liang put her touch on them. This New York-based brand took the winter piece she hated wearing as a kid and transformed it into a major fashion moment in the mid-2010s. And the craze still carries on today—as do the unexpected designs. Prefer retro floral prints with cardigan-esque polish? That’s available. Into a cropped cut and high-pile fleece vest? Also available.. Want to step back into the '90s? You got it. And it’s not all nubby jackets; Liang also makes dresses, tees and other necessities with the same cheeky charm.

Our picks: Shawnee Pant ($495); Panda Fleece ($635); Monty Puffer ($875)

4. Perfectdd

Founder Alice Kim started PerfectDD (pronounced like “perfected”) to solve an issue she was facing: She couldn’t find clothes that fit her DD chest and size zero frame. So, she started a sustainable range of styles that would fit her body type—including a trendy dress shirt that won’t strain at the buttons, a puff sleeve sweatshirt that actually fits over curves and muscle tees that don’t look sloppy. Sizes ranges from size XS to 3X, so everyone can rock a style or two (which explains why celebs like Jenna Fischer, Lindsay Price and Lana Condor are big fans).

Our picks: All Year Muscle Tee ($85); Amy Tulip Sleeve Tee ($95); El Button Down ($145)

5. Adeam

Designer Hanako Maeda was raised between New York and Tokyo and she brings the whip smart sensibility of both cities to this very modern, yet equally wearable brand. Fans include Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Anne Hathaway, Brie Larson and Gemma Chan, but you don’t need to be an icon to rock the brand's signature puff-sleeve tops and cozy knitwear. Though you’ll definitely want to check out their recent collab with tennis star Naomi Osaka (which is every bit as cool as the athlete is).

Our picks: Mint Blossom Sweater ($595); Pinstripe Tokyo Shirt ($795); Beige Azalea Dress ($795)

6. Ziran

In 2016, Kelly Wang Shanahan launched Ziran with the purpose of merging ancient Chinese techniques, luxury fashion and sustainability together. Per their site, they are known for being the first and only brand to use xiang yun sha silk, which translates to "perfumed clothed clothing" and has been a staple in China for over 500 years. Whether you buy their butterfly reversible facemask or their draped wrap dress, every item goes through a vigorous process that involves dying the fabric using shu liang (a Chinese yam) and washing it in the Pearl River. The site adds, "We believe it's our duty to honor and preserve this tradition for the next generation. This is the Ziran way."

Our picks: Raven Cami ($145); Black Plisse Belted Trouser ($355); Black Plisse Ruched Slip Dress ($495)

7. Abacaxi

Inspired by her childhood visits to India, founder Sheena Sood used her love and curiosity of South Asian craft and design to launch Abacaxi. "I got to see how custom garment were made," Sood told The Cut. "Unlike where I grew up in the Midwest, people would go and buy their fabric, take it to the embroider, then the beader and then the tailor. The richness of the fabrics. The way people dress with color in such a different way." So, she blended her four loves—travel, textiles, color and pattern—to create her own bold pieces. In 2020, she introduced her first collection "Fruit Nostalgia," which was inspired by the fruits she had in India, while her 2021 collection was focused on sari blouses, beading and velvet finish in honor of Indigenous botanist and researcher Robin Wall Kimmerer.

Our picks: Ruffle Catsuit ($325); Tie Up Maxi Dress ($375); Cargo Wide Leg Pant ($385)

8. Thakoon

Thakoon's mission is simple: to design clothes that are modern, cool and sophisticated. Since launching the brand in 2004, Thai-American designer Thakoon Panichgul has created many sleek staples that have withsood the test of time. After taking a two-year hiatus, he relaunched the brand in 2019 with a stronger purpose to focus on the core essentials of a wardrobe. "I just want to make cool, comfortable clothing," Panichgul told The Zoe Report. Whether you need a classic tee, wool cardigan or a pair of sweats (for those WFH days), this fashion brand has you covered.

Our picks: Cropped Oxford Shirt ($120); Cropped Ribbed Turtleneck Sweater ($215); Solid Smocked Waist Maxi Dress ($225)

9. Jacq

JACQ is all about making genderless clothing that's accessible to everyone. As stated on their site, "The JACQ collection was created for every identity to feel extraordinary in their everyday life." Designer Jackie Yang's inspiration stemmed from his well-traveled parents, who often dressed in luxurious, but simple staples on their business trips. Each piece is made with recycled and organic fabrics (like viscose and cotton twill) and the brand prioritizes ethical production practices.

Our picks: Theo Top Forest Night ($139); Dorian Jumpsuit ($200); Dakota Jacket Clove ($200)

10. Monse

In 2015, former creative directors at Oscar de la Renta, Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia decided to create their own luxury brand, Monse. The brand has since become known for their ready-to-wear pieces that are inspired by menswear and classic tailoring. As such, you'll find cascade hems, slashed silhouettes and unisex styles that fit anyone's style and transition seamlessly from work to a night out with friends.

Our picks: Belted Color Block Playsuit ($790); Cutout Ribbed Knit Midi Dress ($990); Crochet Trench Coat ($2,990)

Accessories

11. Jw Pei

Few brands are able to create instant cult fave bags for under $100 quite like JW Pei. Before you drop four-figures on a designer purse you should check out the site’s more affordable offerings that celebs like Megan Fox, Gigi Hadid and Anne Hathaway can't stop rocking. Founded by Chinese American husband and wife duo Yang Pei and Stephanie Li (who, by the way, split their time between L.A. and Hong Kong), every cute AF purse is also good for the environment. Yup, these vegan designs are crafted out of recycled water bottles, canvas and polyurethane.

Our picks: Eva Shoulder Handbag ($59); Carly Saddle Bag ($69); Gabbi Hobo Hangbag ($89)

12. Bonbonwhims

Get ready for some serious ‘90s nostalgia, because the sweet baubles and accessories from BonBonWhims will transport you straight back to the pink walls of your childhood bedroom in the best way possible. Founder Clare Ngai, an immigrant of Asian heritage, is the mastermind behind all of the charming (and affordable) pieces. If you can only snap up one piece now, make it the Glitter Lucky Gems rings, which is what our Polly Pocket dreams are made of.

Our picks: Heart Huggie Earrings ($38); BonBon Charm Necklace ($88); Ling Bling Rings ($120)

13. Kara

Kara’s calling card is simple leather handbags with over-the-top, statement-making hardware. It sounds like an unlikely pairing but, oh my god, the resulting accoutrements will instantly be added to your “I’ve got to buy this” list. Like this sapphire crystal mesh bag or this gold crystal cobra camera bag with a rhinestone handwoven cross-body strap. Turns out, designer Sarah Law based her entire brand off of that beautiful, in-between feeling of juxtaposition; she was born in Los Angeles and was raised in Hong Kong by a Chinese father and caucasian American mother.

Our picks: Honey Infinity Case ($395); Upcycle Black Midi Fringe Tote ($425); Black Crystal Cobra Bean Bag ($595)

14. Mohala Eyewear

Mohala Eyewear wants to remove the stress that often comes with shopping for glasses. When founder Ashley Johnson couldn't find sunglasses that fit her correctly, she decided to launch her own brand that would make it easier to find a pair that's comfortable (because one size does not fit all). The wide-ranging collection considers different sized nose bridges and widths, and offers adjustable frames to make each pair of glasses entirely your own. Mohala also carries snazzy accessories like eyewear chains and travel pouches, so you never misplace them again. Plus, for every every pair you purchase, a percentage goes to Room at Read, a non-profit organization that's dedicated to children's education across Asia and Africa.

Our picks: Keana Round Sunglasses ($169); Pikake Round Sunglasses ($169); Hiilawe Round Sunglasses ($169)

15. Svnr

If you're looking for an eco-friendly fashion brand, look no further than SVNR. Short for the French verb "souvenir," this jewelry company is centered around sustainability. From necklaces to earrings and barrettes, designer Christina Tang carefully crafted each piece from found, reused, up-cycled and natural materials.

Our picks: Turks Earrings ($95); PI Max Hoop ($135); Cinqueterre Necklace ($150)

16. Notte

As a former accessories trend director, Jessica Tse always wanted to launch her own jewelry brand. Inspired by her time in New York City and Florence, Italy, she sought to bring out the energy of city life in her collections. From sterling silver to pearls, all of her pieces are vibrant and chic. Searching for a statement accessory? You might want to add these babies to your cart (and these 18k gold smiley rings while you're at it).

Our picks: Bloom Bloom Chunky Hoops ($46); Cotton Candy Heart to Heart Jumbo Ring ($112); Once in a Blue Moon Necklace ($138)

17. Sunnies Studio

In 2013, Sunnies Studio became the go-to for affordable yet trendy sunglasses and has since expanded their range to include optical wear. The brand believes in utilizing eco-friendly materials (like biodegradable acetate, recycled polyester and plant-based plastic) in all of their eyewear and offering affordable options for everyone. Plus, their virtual try-on program ensures that you'll find frames that fit your face shape and personal style right from the comforts of your home.

Our picks: Zia ($25); Jet ($25); Yuri+ ($60)

18. Kinn Studio

Here's your sign to splurge on some new jewelry this month. Kinn Studio offers luxurious, one-of-a-kind pieces that are timeless. After her parents were robbed of all their antique jewelry, CEO Jennie Yoon decided to create a brand of modern heirlooms that not only add to your style, but also withstood the test of time. Since 2017, Kinn Studio has been doing exactly this, while using recycled metals and stones to create stunning rings, earrings and necklaces, to name a few.

Our picks: Mini Hoop Huggie Earrings ($240); Love Letter Diamond Necklace ($1,180); Solis Ribbed Ring II ($2,280)