There are so many amazing Asian-founded brands to buy from, especially small businesses — from family-owned companies to self-made, entrepreneurial ventures — that prioritize quality over quantity.
An immense range of different cultures make up the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders community, and the many talents from the community are represented in a variety of companies across categories, including fashion, makeup, skincare, food and lifestyle.
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month — a month-long celebration that recognizes the achievements and impact the AAPI community has had on history and culture.
Shopping from these Asian-founded brands is a great opportunity to support Asian business owners who have experienced financial setbacks due to the coronavirus pandemic and further persecution caused by the rise of violence against the AAPI community.
Whether you’ll be discovering new lines or revisiting favorites, ET Style has gathered a list of Asian-founded brands to shop now and always. And check back as we continue to add more to this growing list.
Alicia Tsai’s company creates handmade, non-toxic scented candles that invoke memory. Their signature fragrances are inspired by locations all over the world from a secret garden in Taiwan to a vineyard in upstate New York.
Allies of Skin
With degrees in biomedical and pharmaceutical science and international business, Singaporean founder Nicolas Travis created Allies of Skin to offer “sophisticated and smart” skincare formulations that “combine only effective, clinically-proven actives into biocompatible formulas,” according to the brand’s website.
Korean-American founder Gina Nam, who comes from a family of jewelers, started her New York-based jewelry line to offer timeless, everyday pieces that are ethically made from highest quality materials and that don’t break the bank with prices ranging from $30 to $300. For the month of May, AMYO is offering 15% off with the code AAPIMONTH, and 15% of proceeds will benefit AAPI Women Lead.
Back Beat Co.
Philippines-born Isadora Alvarez founded L.A.-based sustainable fashion company Back Beat Co., known for its comfortable, laidback-style clothing. The brand uses fabrics that are either recycled or sustainably farmed.
The Los Angeles-based designer’s “lady clothes for cool girls” are inspired by her childhood travels to Shanghai and British Hong Kong. Mak’s designs are produced in Shanghai and many are made from deadstock fabric.
One of the original beauty gurus on YouTube, Vietnamese-American Michelle Phan’s radiance-boosting makeup brand, Em Cosmetics, is a favorite among fans and influencers.
Saima Chowdhury, born and raised in Bangladesh, launched Grey Slate to offer comfortable, versatile pieces with low environmental impact. The brand handles manufacturing in their solar-powered factory and uses upcycled fabrics. For every purchase, Grey Slate donates $1 to One Tree Planted.
Founded by Korean-American designer, mother and entrepreneur Ahyoung Kim Stobar, Joah Love has stylish, comfortable loungewear designs for adults and kids. Joah Love donates a percentage of monthly sales to AAPI Women Lead and #ImReady Movement.
Ji Won Choi
Choi was a favorite on Making the Cut for her innovative take on streetwear. The Korean-American designer, who has collaborated with Adidas Originals, creates pieces inspired by her Korean roots and global professional experience in New York City, Paris and Milan.
South-Asian entrepreneur Deepica Mutyala launched Live Tinted in 2019 with the now cult beauty favorite, the Huestick, which can be used as eyeshadow, lipstick, blush and color corrector.
Korean native Jooyeon Song co-founded ManiMe when she was looking for a faster, easier alternative to hours-long salon manicures. ManiMe offers custom-fit gel stick-ons that can be self-applied or removed whenever.
Founded by sisters Michel and Amazonka Choigaalaa in 2015, Michel&Amazonka is a Mongolian fashion line and atelier that offers ready-to-wear and couture wares, combining European style and Mongolian traditions.
Nguyen Coffee Supply
The Brooklyn-based coffee company, founded by Sahra Nguyen, a first generation Vietnamese American, partners with Mr. Ton, a fourth generation farmer, to bring organic green coffee beans grown in Vietnam to the U.S.
The Vietnamese-American designer launched his line in 2018. The Fashion Institute of Technology alumnus received the LVMH Graduate Prize in 2014. Do is known for his modern, sleek tailored designs.
Born and raised in South Korea, the London-based designer launched her own label in 2014 and quickly won over celebrities and the fashion industry. The Central Saint Martins alum is known for bringing a unique spin to the most fashionable trends.
The Chinese-American designer’s work is inspired by Chinese grandmothers in New York, where she was born and raised. Liang started her brand after graduating from Parsons in 2013. Among the fashion set, Liang’s designs are the epitome of downtown cool.
Known for its feminine lace dresses, London-based Self-Portrait is a go-to line for the fashion crowd. Malaysian designer Han Chong, a graduate of the prestigious Central Saint Martins, founded the label in 2013.
Co-founded by Coral Chung and Wendy Wen, Chinese-American businesswomen and Stanford business school alumnae, Senreve offers Italian leather bags that combine style and function.
If you love K-beauty, Soko Glam founder Charlotte Cho is the one to listen to. Cho founded the expansive Korean beauty online retailer with her husband in 2012. She is also an author and has her own skincare line, Then I Met You.
Created by artist and life coach Tina Chow Rudolf, Strange Bird makes skincare for the body, mind and spirit. The founder uses ingredients that combine ancient Chinese beauty traditions with flower and crystal essences. For Chow Rudolf’s 40th birthday on March 27, she will be donating 40% of sales to the Support the AAPI Community Fund.
The knitwear brand’s name means “everyone” in Cantonese. Founded by Phyllis Chan and Suzzie Chung, YanYan’s fun, whimsical pieces are inspired by the designers’ lives in New York and Hong Kong along with their heritage. They use materials sourced from all over the world and are knitted in China.
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