These days, it seems like the fashion industry is struggling badly for diversity. But all hope is not lost, as more designers are rising up from the east. Below, our top Asian fashion brand picks that are bound to surprise and inspire you.
For Korean-born architect-turned-shoe-designer Ashley Lim, the quest for stylish footwear that doesn't compromise on comfort culminated with the creation of her eponymous boutique shoe brand (previously known as Extraordinary Ordinary Day) from her base in Sydney.
Instantly up your cool factor with Vietnamese streetwear label Headless. Although still in its infancy, the gender-neutral brand’s combination of distinctive unisex style and monochromatic colour scheme by founder and designer Quan Minh is sure to gain a cult following in the not-so-distant future.
Find Headless at 50 Nguyen Van Nguyen, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
The brainchild of Indonesian fashion blogger Diana Rikasari, Up is truly a paradise for those who favour the bold, the quirky and the fun. Punches of colours and prints run through everything they make, from shoes and clothes to even stationery and home goods.
That’s not all – a portion of the profit from every Up product purchased directly goes to the Level UP! Scholarship Program, a social initiative created by Diana to help underprivileged children get the education they deserve.
Start shopping at the website (international shipping available).
Sometime by Asian Designers
We get it – sometimes you just want to buy a handbag without baulking at the hefty price tag, which is why Malaysians Nicole Wong and Stan Chooi founded Sometime by Asian Designers to offer quality designer totes for less. A self-proclaimed bag specialist company, Sometime joins forces with selected Asian powerhouses such as Vivy Yusof, Alia Bastamam and Jason Wu to launch signature designs that sell out within hours.
For durability and practicality (which we all look for in a bag), the brand uses microfibre as the main material for its designs.
Hop over to the website to expand your bag collection without breaking the bank (shipping to Singapore available).
Hong Kong designer Jane Ng likes to do things differently and her private fashion brand Phenotypsetter is one of the platforms she uses to experiment clothes with the body.
With a playful, unconventional and forward-looking attitude, the label works mainly with experienced local pattern makers, graphic artists and seamstresses to make quality clothes in a witty and novel way – think vibrant, elaborate and genderless silhouettes.
Find Phenotypsetter at Shop S203, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong.
Yoke & Theam
Founded in 2015 by sisters Yoke Sin and Yokie Theam, this Malaysia-based footwear label lives up to its sporty and elegant aesthetic by balancing masculine and feminine nuances seamlessly. The sisters come up with designs together and are inspired by music and their travels, and their creations are brought to life at the family-owned shoe factory in Ipoh.
Head over to the website to fill up your shopping cart (shipping to Singapore available).
Looking for functional yet unique leather goods? The VerYoung (pronounced ‘the-very-young’) by Seoul womenswear designer Se Young Eum will most likely tickle your fancy. Se, who studied fashion and costume design in San Francisco, first launched her first leather bag collection last year and she’s known for injecting personality into her designs before manufacturing them all in Seoul.
Stand out from the crowd with this black-and-pink crossbody bag from the new collection that’s equal parts kooky and practical.
Shop the ready-made goods at BUND (international shipping available).