Jimmy Choo. Mikimoto. Phillip Lim. Alexander Wang. These names, and more, are designers of outstanding merit.
These names are some of the most desirable names in ultra-luxury handbags, fine jewelry, and accessories. They also happen to be influential and well-respected figures who represent an array of nationalities, ethnicities, and perspectives with ties to the AAPI community.
Beyond the surface of those classic Romy pumps or that Pashli satchel you’ve been eyeing, lies a backstory of a devoted artist equally worth celebrating. Honoring all Asian heritage and respecting the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are essential steps toward building a stronger and more united industry for all.
The easiest way to support the AAPI community right now? Donate to Advancing Justice to help stop Asian hate, and shop pieces from Asian designers both locally and around the world. Read these backstories to get to know a little more about these notable designers.
Following his father’s footsteps, Jimmy Choo began his career very young as a bespoke shoemaker. In the 80s, he moved from Malaysia to England to pursue higher education. Shortly thereafter, he decided to remain in England and established his Jimmy Choo couture line in London in 1996. Today the name is famously known around the world for its handmade women’s shoes that are comfortable and playful. The label also includes sneakers, handbags, and small accessories. When Jimmy Choo left the company in 2001, his niece, Sandra Choi came on board as Creative Director, a position she holds to this day.
Mikimoto is a Japanese jewelry company famous for its designer pearl necklaces, rings, bracelets, and earrings. The company’s founder, Kokichi Mikimoto, created the world’s first cultured pearl, renowned for its perfectly round shape. In 1893 Mikimoto opened the first Mikimoto jewelry store in Japan and saw huge success due to his “perfect” Mikimoto pearls, officially putting pearls on the map. Today the eponymous designer beholds the highest standard in pearls today.
Phillip Lim is an American fashion designer of Chinese descent whose parents immigrated to America from Thailand during the Cambodian genocide. Lim co-founded the brand with Wen Zhou, a friend whose parents also immigrated to America from China. The Phillip Lim brand embraces its items being made in China and considers it an honor and privilege to have their items crafted by the most skillful and talented people. They are on a mission to show that items made in China don’t mean low quality.
Alexander Wang was born in San Francisco, California, in 1983 to a Taiwanese-American family. At just 15 years old, Wang presented his first designs at his brother’s wedding. In 2002, Wang enrolled in Parsons School of Design in New York City, but after only two years, Wang left school to start his own label. And the rest is history.