Even though May—the month that Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month is recognized—is almost over, when you shop at the fashion retailers and brands on this list, you’ll also be supporting the AAPI community. Following increased incidences of violence against AAPI individuals across generations and the introduction of legislative action against hate crimes, this May is a bit different from previous ones.
While the month sets aside a small portion of the year in which the AAPI community is formally celebrated, there are so many other ways you can support the community during the rest of the year. In particular, you can support the community and your closet by shopping at AAPI-founded and owned brands and retailers. Keep reading to learn more about some outstanding individuals and brands that are a part of the AAPI community that you won’t want to overlook. You’ll find a variety of brands on this list from Forbes Under 30 alumni to sustainable to buzzy celebrity-approved brands like Senreve and Kim Shui.
The Sustainable Footwear Brand
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.
The Celebrity-Approved Handbag Brand
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.
The Y2K Accessories Callback
If you didn’t already know, Y2K fashion is back (thanks Gen Z!). Clare Ngai-Howard founded the colorful brand featuring resin rings, charm bracelets, and more.
A Brooklyn-Based Silk Emporium
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.
The Affordable Luxury Brand
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.
The Vegan Leather Handbag Brand
Husband and wife duo Stephanie Li and Yang Pei founded JW PEI. The brand was inspired by the idea that fashion should be accessible, effortless, and empowering. That inspiration is reflected by the brand’s sustainability efforts, including the use of recycled plastic, and a minimalist design.
The Hand-Crafted Jewelry Brand
Jewelry brand AMYO was founded by Gina Nam who leads an all-female team that crafts the jewelry by hand.
The Brand Everyone Will Want To Do A Collab With
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.
The Recycled Gold Jewelry Brand
Kinn was founded by Jennie Yoon who founded the fine jewelry company in 2017. Pieces are made from 14k solid, recycled gold and are inspired by the founder’s ancestors’ personal stories.
The Form-Fitting Dress Designer You’ve Probably Seen On Instagram
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.
The Brand That Your Grandmother Could Be A Muse For
Another Forbes 30 Under 30 alumna, designer Sandy Liang started her label in 2013. Fun fact: Liang was inspired by grandmothers in Chinatown, and her own grandmother once modeled one of the coats on the designer’s website.
The Jewelry Brand Giving Heirloom Pieces A Run For Its Money
Founded by designer Wing Yau, jewelry brand WWAKE prides itself on being Asian woman-owned and run by a 92% women-identifying team. Its in-house studio staffs 100% women-identified bench jewelers.
The Brand Transcending Gender Norms
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.
The Forward-Thinking Fashion Label
First-generation Chinese American fashion designer Anna Sui hails from Detroit and has been a design icon for decades, establishing 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.
The Iconic Wedding Dress Designer
Vera Wang has made wedding dresses for a slew of celebrities and public figures since she first opened her design studio. Today, you’ll find other fashion and home goods beyond the classics, but she’ll always be an iconic figure in the world of designer wedding dresses.