The fashion industry is no stranger to Asian designers offering their talent: Vera Wang, Jason Wu, Zuhair Murad, and Bao Tranchi have become big names, with the biggest magazines and a whole host of celerity clientele demanding their attention.
But assuming the big brands of today will be the big brands of tomorrow is, at best, naïve. As any loyal fashion follower knows, new talent is just bubbling under the surface, so how about a few brands that have caused a ripple in the fashion pond, and soon might make a big splash?
Founded by Chinese designer Zhang ZhiFeng in 1982, NE·TIGER has become a top luxury brand committed to Chinese culture and heritage. With evening dresses, Chinese wedding dresses, and Western style wedding dresses, NE·TIGER also produce huafu, the national dress of China and representative of the Chinese spirit. Though distinctly Chinese, the unique blend of contemporary Western styles and traditional Chinese style has picked up a number of celebrity fans, such as Andy MacDowell, Zhang Zhiyi, Li Bingbing, and Fan Bingbing.
A Thai brand founded by Disaya Sorakraikitiku, Disaya herself is an award winning Central St Martin’s graduate, and her pieces have been worn by celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Kelly Osbourne, and Amy Winehouse. Her clothing is whimsical at heart but doesn’t shy away from more figure hugging silhouettes. Think of an edgier, older Alice in Wonderland who loves pastel but adores black leather boots.
Indonesian designer Toton Januar has studied at Parsons New School of Design and started TONTON as an answer to the modern woman’s need of individual style while exploring Indonesia’s natural beauty and diverse culture with modern interpretations. His work has been featured in Harper’s Bazaar Indonesia, Cosmo Girl, NYLON, Grazia, Elle, and a whole host of other publications.
If quirky pins, bags, and apparel are your kind of thing, this Hong Kong based brand should be added to your list. With geometric shapes, stripes, and funny figures playing a key part in the brand’s aesthetic, Matter Matters aims to provide items that are not just witty, but also modern and graceful.
Created by South Korean duo Byungmun Seo and Jina Um, the philosophy of the brand is to resist conventionality without limits, and BMUET(TE) does a fantastic job of creating visually provocative pieces that have been featured in the likes of Vogue, and has been worn by a number of Kpop stars (such as Rain and Khiyun of Mnsta X) and even Justin Bieber. If you love dark, oversized, unconventionally constructed pieces, and stealing the look of your favourite male Kpop stars, keep these guys on tab.
Founded by Singaporean designer Pricilla Shunmugam, the brand has been known to weave traditional techniques, colours, and silhouettes into the modern wardrobe. The brand has some notable variations on the traditional Chinese cheongsam, and its “Madness & Civilisation” collection has won critical acclaim. With wonderful architecture that lays the foundation for a beautiful silhouette, Ong Shunmugam is traditional mixed with contemporary in ready-to-wear form.
Malaysian born fashion designer Edmund Ooi grew up in a tailor family and studied fashion in the capital, Kuala Lumpur. After being awarded as ‘Most Promising Designer’ and ‘Best Avant-Garde Designer’ at the age of nineteen, Ooi moved to Belgium to hone his skills and launched his namesake brand in 2014. The brand is self-described as ‘Urban, Irony and Contemporary,’ and the pieces are genuine to those words.
An Indian designer based in New York, Mohapatra isn’t a stranger to celebrity clientele and has even dressed Michelle Obama. Mohapatra often dives into the history books for inspiration, and his Spring 2017 ready-to-wear collection was unapologetically positive and full of loose, flowing pieces that complimented the silhouette, but also gave freedom of movement to the wearer.
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