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Famous Chinese-Americans in

Fashion

  Who What
周仰杰
Jimmy Choo


b. 1961, Penang
A London based fashion designer known for his high fashion women’s shoes and handbags. A Malaysian of Chinese descent, Choo initially handcrafted his own shoes and bags. Both of Choo’s parents were shoemakers and taught him the craft. He graduated in 1983 from Cordwainers' Technical College in London, now part of the London College of Fashion. Choo’s shoes are known worldwide, and he has a celebrity clientele including Nicole Richie, Katie Holmes, and the late Princess Diana.
Ellery J. Chun

b. 1909, Honolulu, HI
d. 2000, Honolulu, HI
Inventor of the "Aloha shirt". Ellery was the son of a Chinese dry goods merchant. He graduated from Yale in 1931 with a degree in Economics. After returning home, he changed the family store into a clothing store and started selling the colorful shirts, initially using remnants from kimono fabrics. Eventually he named his shirts the "Aloha shirt" and used the island-based motifs that made them popular with locals and visiting Hollywood celebrities. Ellery eventually closed the store and became a bank vice president.
Derek Lam

b. 1967, San Francisco
An American fashion designer. He studied at the Parsons School of Design. After graduation, Lam worked under Michael Kors for 12 years. Lam’s clothes, like Kors’ reinvent American sportswear. He launvched his own line in 2003. Lam’s clothes have clean silhouettes in feminine fabrics. He also has a line of jewelry and shoes. He has many fashion design awards, including the CFDA Perry Ellis Swarovski Award.
Phillip Lim

b. 1973
An American fashion designer. Lim is noted for his feminine streamlined clothes and his attention to detail. He currently sells his clothes under the label 3.1 Phillip Lim. He launched his collection is 2004 and found immediate success. Lim says his clothes “make them feel respectful, yet, desirable all at the same time.”
Peter Som A fashion designer who has dressed celebrities such as Mandy Moore, Claire Danes, Scarlett Johanssen, and more. His clothes have been described as effortless, clean, and luxurious. Som first studied art history at Connecticut College and then graduated from the Parsons School of Design. He worked for some of the best known designers, such as Calvin Klein, Bill Blass and Michael Kors before launching hisnown collection in 1999, for which he received praise from buyers and critics. In 2007, he became Creative Director for Bill Blass.
Anna Sui

b. 1955, Dearborn, MI
International fashion designer. She studied at NY's Parsons School of Design. She opened her first boutique in New York in 1995, later opening an additional stores in Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Osaka. In addition to clothing, her lines now include shoes and cosmetics.
譚燕玉
Vivienne Tam


b. 1957, Guangzhou

International fashion designer. She moved to New York after graduating from Hong Kong's Polytechnic Fashion School. She has boutiques in New York, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Kobe.

She authored "China Chic", a book on Chinese style from fashion to food to home decor.

譚曼玲
Ling Tang


b. 1974, Malaysia
First supermodel of Chinese ancestry. She has modeled for major designers and featured in major ads. She was photographed by Richard Avedon for a Pirelli Calendar. She is represented by agencies in New York and Paris.
冼書瀛
Zang Toi


b. 1961, Malaysia
Fashion designer famous for his use of color. His designs are favored by many Hollywood stars. Toi graduated from NY's Parsons School of Design.  He opened his own boutique in 1989. In 1997, he was awarded a knighthood by the Sultan of Malaysia. Toi commissions original music pieces for his fashion shows.
  Alexander Wang

b. San Francisco
A designer famous for his classic everyday wear. He attended the Parsons School of Design and interned at Teen Vogue. He was only a sophomore when he launching a line of cashmere sweaters. Two years later, he launched his first full collection of women's wear Wang wants his clothes to show that a tee shirt and pair of jeans can be just as sexy as a evening dress. He won the CDFA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award in 2008.
Vera Wang

b. 1949, New York City

Fashion designer best known for her wedding dresses. She started her career as a fashion editor for Vogue magazine. After failing to find a suitable wedding dress for her own wedding, she designed one herself. Later she opened her own bridal boutique, initially selling dresses from other designers but later own she launching her own line of wedding dresses. She got international exposure from the dresses she designed for skater Nancy Kerrigan, who wore them to the 1994 Olympics.(Interesting note: As a teen, Wang had competed professionally as a skater in the US National Competition).

Sue Wong

b. 1949, China
A fashion designer based in Los Angeles. Sue was born in rural China, moved with her family to Hong Kong and eventually to the United States at the age of 6. Wong was never formally trained in fashion design, yet her design talent led to her success. Sue Wong designs contemporary and glamorous dresses. Her clothes are inspired by the history of fashion, with inspirations from the 1890’s to 1970’s. Wong’s clothes are sold in specialty boutiques.
吳季剛
Jason Wu

b. Taiwan
A New York-based fashion designer. Wu moved to Canada as a child but attended school in New England, Tokyo, and France. At 16 he started designing clothes for a doll company, becoming the company's creative director at 17. He began to sew, sketch, and design fashions when he was only 9 by using dolls as his mannequins. He attended the Parsons School of Design and launched his collection in 2006, which is now carried in top-name stores. Wu skyrocketed to fame when First Lady Michelle Obama wore one of his evening gowns to the Inaugural Ball. He designs clothes meant to take women back to the era where they were always polished and perfectly styled.
©2003-2014 J. Lau. All rights reserved.