This ethnic diversity wasn’t always the case. Think back to even just ten or twenty years ago. We had the bigwigs: Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors. All great designers, all white and Jewish.
Fast forward to today and it seems we have a huge influx of amazing young Asian talent: Thakoon, Derek Lam, Peter Som, Philip Lim, Alexander Wang, Jason Wu, Joseph Altuzzara, Richard Chai, Prabal Gurung. I don’t know about you, but these are the guys I watch! They’re literally the new (and not-so-new) wonder boys of fashion. I’m no social anthropologist so I can’t speak to the causes of this trend, but I certainly can appreciate it.
I realize it seems silly to make this all about race and ethnicity, and that’s not what I’m trying to do at all. I generally shy away from that. At the end of the day, fashion is about talent and the unique perspective each designer has to offer. But really, this new crop of Asian-American designers is too obvious not to comment upon. It’s such a positive change, and really reflects our country’s ever-growing diversity.
And the fashion industry historically, like the art and music industries, tends to be at the forefront of change; it embraces “the other,” the scary “liberal” concepts that have yet to permeate our larger culture. If that means Asian-Americans can be not just successful, but the hottest fashion designers in town, then they can be politicians and pop stars too, and if we’re really lucky, someday they can be unhyphenated Americans.
|Richard Chai Love|