Last update on: 9:03 pm May 18, 2024 by fashionabc

In 1977, congressional lawmakers proposed bills for the creation of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. After passing a law for a seven-day commemoration in 1978, Congress passed Public Law 102-450 in 1992 which annually designated May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Since, this has become an opportunity for us to pay tribute to the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched America’s history and are instrumental in its future success of all aspects of society, including the arts, fashion, jewellery, sports and social justice.

Over the last few decades, the number of Asian-American women–helmed fashion brands has grown exponentially. From buzzy new luxury lines like Peter Do to gender-fluid, sustainable streetwear-meets-media labels like Bobblehaus, these brands combine style and sustainability to rethink what it means to be Asian-American or Pacific Islander. Read on for fashion, beauty, accessories and fragrance brands to celebrate in AAPI Heritage Month and support. Because, in addition to creating powerhouse global brands, they have brought in fresh perspectives, told new stories and, in aa few cases, brought in elements of their heritage to design one-of-a-kind fashion.

Alicia Tsai, Founder of Aerangis

Alicia attended the Fashion Institute of Technology’s cosmetics and fragrance program and worked alongside New York’s top fragrance industry thought leaders. Her obsession with scent began when she was nine at her grandfather’s greenhouse and has resulted in a luxury candle brand sold at major retailers to not only relive her own cherished memories but to help others use fragrance to tell their own stories. The brand Aerangis – named for the white, star-shaped orchid that sparked the founder’s first scent memory – is rooted in their standards of being cruelty-free, plant-based, non-toxic, and eco-conscious from the handmade ceramic jars to the lead-free wicks. “The began with a simple mission: to use the power of fragrance to unlock forgotten memories, and immortalise moments worth remembering… Our signature scents are inspired by my most cherished memories, including a secret garden in Taiwan, a ranch and vineyard in upstate New York, and the spirit of New Orleans. While each candle begins with a personal recollection, the scent comes to life the minute you light the wick and make it part of your own unforgettable experience,” says Alicia in a note on her official website.

Gina Nam, Founder of AMYO

AMYO is a female founded and operated jewellery brand launched in 2016 by Korean American jewellery designer Gina Nam. Gina, who grew up in a family of jewellers, quickly noticed how wasteful the industry can be trying to keep up with trends, so she set out to make minimalist evergreen pieces meant to last, at an affordable price point. Their rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and anklets are all under $300 and made from Vermeil, 14K Gold and Sterling Silver. Sustainable practices include modular designs, including the brand’s signature O Collection, meant to be easily rearranged and mix n matched to create versatile pieces you’ll be wearing for years to come., supplies and materials are sourced from NYC + US owned businesses, handmade products that produce less waste than industrial manufacturing, and ethically produce with a guarantee of a fair wage and good working conditions to the artisans who make them.

Charles Zhong, Founder of Azazie

AZAZIE is the leading DTC e-tailer, providing bridal gowns, bridesmaid dresses, evening wear and accessories. Designed in Los Angeles, the fashion brand disrupts the traditional wedding industry by presenting made-to-order gowns at an affordable price point. Charles Zhong is dedicated to promoting body-positive fashion, ensuring that all dresses, available in sizes 0-30, are meticulously cut and sewn to order. “The remarkable affordability of our dresses confounded many, prompting questions if the prices were for sale or rental. To dispel doubts and showcase the quality of Azazie dresses, I took the step of sending samples used for photo shoots to a handful of prospective customers. The resulting positive feedback and subsequent orders laid the foundation for Azazie’s journey.” Zhong tells Fashion Week Daily.

Maggie Drake, Founder of Bandolier

Maggie Drake brainstormed the idea of a luxury crossbody iPhone accessory after the birth of her first child, identifying a need for “a stylish way to attach my phone to my body.” Today, as Co-Founder, CEO and Chief Designer of Bandolier, she runs the business for the eleven-year-old wearable technology company. “As an AAPI woman, it gives me immense joy to cultivate our diverse, intelligent and innovative team and share in a collective vision for our brand.” With a patented, groundbreaking product line, Bandolier’s sophisticated style combines utility with style, transforming an iPhone into an entirely new accessory. With its patented design, each Bandolier features a discreet wallet for credit cards, driver’s license and cash.
 A game-changing accessory that epitomizes high tech and high fashion.

Dana Bandi, Founder of Dana Bandi

Dana Bandi is an Asian woman-owned sustainable fashion brand that combines engineering and fashion to create pieces that transcend time. Dana Bandi isn’t just about fashion; it’s about ethical choices. The team is meticulous in every step, ensuring both ethical and environmental considerations are met. “During my time spent in the fashion industry, I’ve seen the less glamorous side of things – the unsustainable practices, the poor craftsmanship, and the overlooked intricacies. It became evident to me that pieces in the fashion world were losing their value. The lack of high-quality pieces and sustainable choices inspired me to start Dana Bandi, a brand that stands for something more. Amidst the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, I embarked on a mission to create. With little to no knowledge on how to sew or where to even start, I decided to trust the process. Thread by thread, I handwove fabrics together, carefully crafting pieces made just for me. From that initial spark of inspiration, sketching and selecting of fabrics, I discovered a newfound passion and decided to take it further than just my room. That’s when Dana Bandi began – A philosophy in motion, offering timeless, ethically-made pieces with luxurious fabrics and refined details,” she explains on her website.

Image Source: Dana Bandi

Cindy Lee, Founder of LAPCOS

Founded by Cindy Lee, LAPCOS is a K-Beauty brand known for their sheet-masks and skin, hair, and body care products retailing direct to consumer, on Amazon, Revolve, Anthropologie and more. Rooted in Korean traditions and technologies, inspired by the Los Angeles way of life, the beauty brand curates tried-and-true formulations and practices that stand the test of time.

Melissa Song, Founder of Melie Bianco

Melie Bianco champions inclusion through its sustainable fashion ethos. Originating from Melissa’s passion for fashion and sustainability, the eponymous fashion brand creates chic, eco-friendly handbags that cater to diverse tastes and lifestyles. The brand’s commitment to using vegan leather promotes ethical fashion. Melissa’s journey from a young entrepreneur to the driving force behind the brand reflects a dedication to empowering individuals from all walks of life. By embracing sustainable practices and offering stylish, affordable handbags, Melie Bianco and Melissa Song inspire inclusion, proving that fashion can be both ethical and accessible to everyone. “We believe in doing our part to make the fashion world more friendly for the environment and animals. Every season we create small batches of products to reduce waste of textiles and materials,” per a note on their official website.

Ming Wang, Founder of Ming Wang Knits

After moving to the US from Taiwan with her young family over 30 years ago, Ming Wang founded her legendary brand, offering a bold range of luxury knits in distinctive styles designed to help all women feel comfortable and confident. Still family owned and operated, the fashion brand continues to be passionate about the same things: effortless fashion, the artistry of knitting, and a focus on enduring quality.