Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is recognized in May. This year, in what is an especially unprecedented year for the AAPI community, you can show your support from the comfort of your home by shopping Asian American and Pacific Islander-founded and owned fashion brands and retailers.
Ever since Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Week was extended to a month in the 90s, steps have been taken to recognize the history, culture and achievements of people in the AAPI community. In a way, 2021 is not unlike any other year—from May 1 through May 31, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month will be recognized. Since May 2020, however, a lot has changed for the AAPI community including the astronomical occurrences of violence against AAPI individuals across all generations and the recent Atlanta spa shootings.
Although the month marks a sliver of the year in which the AAPI community is celebrated, there are many ways you can support the community throughout the year. As you search for ways to support the AAPI community, consider making a purchase from brands that are owned or founded by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Below, here are brands and retailers that were founded by incredible members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community that are more than worth checking out and supporting. You’ll find everything from celebrity-loved handbag brand Senreve to Forbes Under 30 alumni’s brands on this list.
Forbes Next 1000 entrepreneur Julie Kuo cofounded footwear brand AVRE with her sister, Connie Kuo in 2019. The sisters developed an innovative manufacturing process to produce footwear made from recycled materials. AVRE shoes are made from recycled PET plastic from 8-10 recycled water bottles.
Celebrity-favorite handbag brand Senreve is owned and founded by Coral Chung. Chung launched Senreve in 2016, striving to create a luxury brand and develop products for the modern professional woman.
Although Christina Tung’s SVNR is dedicated to colorful, globally-influenced jewelry, there’s a silk section featuring silk scarves, slip dresses, shorts and more. The silk styles are made from 100% silk and are hand-dyed in Brooklyn.
3.1 Phillip Lim
Designer clothing and accessories brand 3.1 Phillip Lim was founded by Phillip Lim and Wen Zhuo in 2005. The cofounders built the brand on the foundation of cool and chic wardrobe pieces.
Jewelry brand AMYO was founded by Gina Nam who leads an all-female team that crafts the jewelry by hand.
Fashion brand Opening Ceremony was founded in 2002 by Humberto Leon and Carol Lim. The brand runs collabs with other brands—currently, you can shop Opening Ceremony’s collaborations with Vans and Reebok.
Since being inducted as a member of Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2019, alumna Kim Shui continues to create edgy pieces that invoke traditional Chinese prints and designs. Celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Cardi B have worn Shui’s creations.
Another Forbes 30 Under 30 alumna, designer Sandy Liang started her label in 2013. Fun fact: Liang was by grandmothers in Chinatown, and her own grandmother once modeled one a coat on the designer’s website.
Creative director Jackie Yang’s JACQ is truly a reflection of the designer. You’ll find simple, functional designs that transcend gender norms, age, and race made sustainably and, in many cases, from recycled fabrics.
First-generation Chinese American fashion designer Anna Sui hails from Detroit and has been a design icon for decades. She established her namesake label in 1981. In the 90s, Sui was a part of a generation of designers who moved away from 80s power dressing and gravitated towards relaxed styles alongside designers like Marc Jacobs and Isaac Mizrahi.