Fashion brands

Shop AAPI Fashion Brands – 17 Asian Fashion Brands You Should Know

Design by Yoora Kim

It has been a difficult year and a half for the AAPI community with an increase in anti-Asian hate crimes and racial harassment. Celebrities such as K-Pop phenoms BTS, Olympic gold medalist Suni Lee and “To All The Boys I’ve Ever Loved Before” actress Lana Condor have spoken out against anti-Asian hatred, calling out fans to condemn the violence and to stand with their AAPI friends and family.

For Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Chriselle Lim spoke with Seventeen how important Asian representation is – especially in such a tumultuous time. “Growing up and watching the media, I didn’t see anyone who looked like me, and I immediately wanted to watch do not like me, so I didn’t look Asian. It’s so important that brands can show more Asian faces. We’ve come a long way, but there’s still a lot of work to do.”

Chriselle is right – and it’s especially important to support companies that are elevating the AAPI community by destigmatizing the conversation around mental health, like fashion brand Love, Bonito. Chriselle is working with the Southeast Asian Society to donate $20,000 to the Asian Mental Health Project because “even before the pandemic, the Asian community was the ethnic group least likely to access health treatment mental health due to the systemic barriers and stigma around mental health.” Chriselle tells us that “coupled with racism related to COVID-19, there is a lot of shame, fear and guilt. So it’s important to take concrete steps to create a better future for our community.”

When it comes to supporting Asian businesses, Chriselle tells Seventeen that “the best way to support a community is to put money back into the community to enable more opportunities and resources to nurture the next generation, [who will] hope to live in a more equal society.”

Maybe you already support the AAPI community on a daily basis by buying your boba from a local Asian business, stocking Asian-owned beauty brands, or watching movies that tell AAPI stories, like boobies rich asian or See red. These are all big steps – and you can continue to vote with your dollar by also supporting entrepreneurs who have launched Asian fashion and accessories brands. It doesn’t hurt that these AAPI-owned fashion brands really do, really cute clothes.

You do not know where to start ? We’ve put together a list of the cutest items to buy from the hottest Asian fashion brands that should be totally on your radar for AAPI month and beyond!

Parts of this interview have been lightly edited for clarity.

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Price scale: $

Not only was Baggu founded by Asian American Emily Sugihara, but it’s also one of our favorite eco-friendly brands. Emily realized that reusable bags were everywhere in Japan long before they became popular in America and created her own brand of sustainable bags. Each Baggu bag folds up into a tiny square that you can throw in your backpack whenever you need it!

Plus, you won’t find a cuter selection of patterns anywhere else.

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Best Size Inclusive Brand

Friend

Snapdragon High Waisted Compression Leggings

Price scale: $$

Size range: XXS-6XL

Girlfriend Collective was started by AAPI founder Quang Dinh, who started the activewear brand when he realized his wife couldn’t find eco-friendly options. We love their commitment to size inclusion *and* their ability to offer workout sets in the cutest colors ever. All of their products are ethically made, and they even recently launched swimwear!

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Celebrity Favorite

Bon Bon Whims

Price scale: $$

Have you spent hours scrolling through Pinterest and Instagram trying to find where all the coolest influencers buy their funky, colorful jewelry? Meet Bon Bon Whims. Started by AAPI founder Clare Ngai, the brand does everything from stretchy pearl rings to custom designs for Ariana Grande and Kylie Jenner. Trust me, you’ll want to wear these nostalgic pieces every day.

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Asian American Girls Club

Price scale: $$

Size range: XS-3XL

Say it loud and clear! Asian American Girl Club is a clothing company that, according to founder Ally Maki, aims to “celebrate, unify, and lead the normalization of Asian American women.” You can proudly display your heritage with their logo hoodies and sweaters. Even Mindy Kaling got in on the action!

There truly is a place for all of us there, and Asian American Girl Club exists to show AAPI girls and guys that they are strong, multi-faceted, and never alone.

Gabbi Gathered Hobo Handbag

Price scale: $$

JW Pei was founded by husband and wife duo Steph Li and Yang Pei in 2017, and since then their bags have been spotted on the arms of models and fashion influencers. The brand offers premium designs without the $$$$ price tag and uses vegan and recycled materials to make its bags. 😍

Price scale: $$

Size range: 30AA – 40B

Jaclyn Fu and Lia Winograd created Pepper out of a need for bras designed for small breasts (read: no openings, snug cups, no loose bands). Pepper bras are specially designed to be comfortable, flattering AND snug for AA to B cup sizes.

The brand’s website has thousands of positive reviews. One customer exclaimed, “I never knew what it feels like to have a bra that really fits until I got this bra.”

Price scale: $

Size range: XXS-XXL

Love, Bonito is a Southeast Asian brand that sells clean, tailored basics to build a flattering wardrobe on a budget. The brand partners with Chriselle Lim and helps de-stigmatize mental health in the AAPI community by working with the Asian Mental Health Project, a non-profit organization that makes mental health resources more accessible to everyone.

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best gift idea

find me now

Price scale: $$$

Whether you are a first, second, third or fourth generation Asian American, this is something to be proud of. Wear it close to your heart with this Find Me Now x Notte necklace, a collaboration between AAPI founders Su Paek, Stephanie Callahan and Jessica Tse. Jewelry would be a wonderful thank you gift for family members who might have immigrated to the country years ago, or for your AAPI friends who want to proudly display their Asian American heritage.

Price scale: $$$

Size range: XS-2XL

Karen Lee and Tanya Lee started LEZÉ The Label with the intention of recycling materials to create innovative fabrics. Many companies have used plastic bottles to make fabric, but Karen and Tanya pushed the boundaries by exploring materials made from recycled coffee, beech trees and fishing nets. Karen talks about their frugality saying that “our parents, along with other immigrant parents, were OGs of recycling before it was all the rage.”

Price scale: $$

South Asian entrepreneur Shilpa Shah co-founded the Cuyana brand in 2011 to encourage shoppers to invest in higher quality materials rather than quickly browse through cheap options. This means that every Cuyana piece is made by artisans using materials that will stand the test of time, so you don’t have to keep buying and throwing away products. One is enough if it lasts you forever.

Price scale: $$

The brand adored by Hailey Bieber, Emma Chamberlain and Kendall Jenner was launched by AAPI founder Julianne Goldmark. Emi Jay started as Julianne’s after-school hobby and turned into a full-time business. The brand has collaborated with Juicy Couture and Summer Fridays and has become famous for products like their “Big Effing Claw Clip” thanks to Bella Hadid and other A-Listers rocking their accessories.

Price scale: $

Size range: S-XL

Apricotton was started by two young Chinese founders (Chloe Beaudoin and Jessica Miao) who wanted to create a bra that grew with you, making it perfect for young teenage girls. Jessica tells Seventeen that “90% of girls [are] embarrassed to wear their first bra“, and Apricotton standardizes the process with comfortable and accessible options like the adjustable Cloud Bra.

Price scale: $$

Size range: SL

Fanny Kong started At The Venue as an incubator for new, sustainable brands looking to break into the fashion industry. They just opened a store in New York, so if you’re based in or visiting The Big Apple, stop by their store to browse all the amazing brands At The Venue has to offer!

Not in New York? Carefree! Buy their offers online.

Price scale: $

Size range: S-XXXL

Wishbone NYC was founded by Margaret Zhou Pattillo, who shares a bit of her story on the store’s About page. Margaret suffered the effects of drug addiction in her personal life at a young age, and now uses her platform to make a difference by donating 5% of all income from the comfortable, street-inspired loungewear to organizations and nonprofit drug prevention organizations.

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The most innovative

Miru House

Pavé Lightning Nap Earrings

Price scale: $$

If you think these are just ordinary earrings, think again! Former engineer Trisha Okubo founded Maison Miru, and all of the brand’s jewelry is designed for style AND function. Their signature Nap earrings have a flat back, so you can comfortably sleep on your side or wear headphones without the back of the earrings digging into your skin. Can you say innovation?!

Checker Claw in Black/White

Price scale: $

You can never have too many claw clips. Tiffany Chu founded Chunks as a high-quality, plant-based option for hair accessories and we live for the print and pattern options! This checkerboard clip is funky but portable enough for you to grab it every day. Fair warning: you will receive A LOT of compliments.

Price scale: $$

Size range: XS-L

NIA the brand makes the kind of clothes that are cute enough for the classroom…and comfy enough just in case you doze off at your desk. The AAPI-founded brand was started by Sonia Parvaneh (Get it? SoNIA, NIA the Brand?) and the matching knit sets they offer are so, so good. You’ll look well-dressed without even trying.

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