If You Knew, You Knew: Emerging Asian Designed Brands Are Redefining Cool

If You Knew, You Knew: Emerging Asian Designed Brands Are Redefining Cool

It's a big world there, and it's about time the industry also recognized. As an editor, I continue to keep my eyes and ears open for brands and names around the world that inspire new style modes and spark creativity. Now, I’m tracing Asian -designed brands that define the meaning of being cool. The impact of Asian culture on fashion is innumerable and immense, and as we continue to comb through the trends that pervade the industry today, it is important to give credit where it deserves. From Shanghai and Milan to Tokyo and New York City, emerging brands have delighted us with their interpretation of 90s nostalgia and clean-cut, modern minimalism. Of course, this is just a small sampling of the brilliant designers there, but nonetheless represents a diverse range of Asian cultural influence. Keep reading to see the full list of brands and to shop our favorite pieces from each.

Leave your Y2K slogans at home, we have entered the era of logo earrings. Emblazoned by phrases like “help me” and “for your health” Jiwinaia is true to Gen-Z’s brand of sartorial satire. You won’t find such eccentric pieces in anyone else, and that’s exactly the point. Created by Central Saint Martins graduate Marisa Jiwi Seok, the Milan-based brand has already received a stamp of approval from celebs such as Dua Lipa, Rosalia, and K-Pop artist CL.

Based in New York City and founded by Jin friends Sina Kay, Dylan Cao, and Huy Luong, the Commission was inspired by the nostalgic style of designers from their youth. Retro floral prints and fixed clothing are flagships from the label and a callback to the clothes their mothers wore in the 80s and 90s. Although the Commission is a celebration of the past, there is always a modern touch that feels right on the nose for today’s fashion climate.

Perverze is more than just a fashion brand, it's a movement. Launched in 2016, the Japanese brand is run and directed by an enigmatic design collective that rooted its rebellious designs in the traditions of Japanese street clothes. After building a cult following on its home turf, Perverze is now available at a number of limited retailers around the world including Assembly New York and Ssense.

Emerging from Shanghai, Shushu / Tong is the independent fashion label that reinvents femininity. Created and designed by the duo Liushu Lei and Yutong Jiang, the brand’s stunning decorations, and fun girly patterns are anything but common. Ever since seeing the images from the latest collection, the mini dresses in particular have lived in my mind without rent.

We at Who What Wear are big fans of Bonbonwims with bubbles, Y2K Aesthetic and we're not the only ones: chunky "Juice Bomb" rings have honored the fingers of everyone from Ariana Grande to Kylie Jenner, and now it’s a staple in fashion it-girls across social media. Claire Ngai started creating her famous ring during quarantine last year, and within months it had evolved into a full ownership item. Aside from rings you can find other kid-core pieces that will take you back to the glory days of the early aughts, such as smiley face bracelets and colorful earrings.

Ryota Iwai is the creative thinker behind the gender-neutral label, Auralee. This uncluttered and easy silhouette reminds me of the casual-cool birthdays of the Gap ' s 90 ' s era, but with the exception that everything is made from premium fabrics in Japan. Although minimalism is centered on Auralee’s aesthetic, it’s not entirely white tees and blue jeans: oversized shapes and detailed construction set the pieces apart, hiding the delicate line between stylish and timeless.

For all the minimalists there is time to get acquainted with CFCL. After serving as director of men’s design for Issey Miyake, Yusuke Takahashi left the company to start CFCL in 2020. An acronym for Clothing For Contemporary Life, the emerging label feels like a millennial blend of Issey Miyake and Uniqlo, which offer simple basics in an assortment of neutral tones. Where the single-year-old brand really shines, is its lush ribbed knit and abstract flute shape-which I personally don’t mind owning in every color.

Next, These 8 Korean Brands Have Fingers on What's Next .

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