Enrichment Arts & Culture

FIT exhibit to highlight Asian American contributions in fashion

Public School NYC, ensemble, silk, rayon, wool, cotton, leather, and metal, 2016, gift of Public School NYC, 2016.64.1 © (The Museum at FIT)

Story at a glance

  • The Fashion Institute of Technology is putting on an exhibit meant to highlight “the Asian American community’s diverse contributions to the fashion industry.”
  • “Asian Americans in New York Fashion: Design, Labor, Innovation” was conceived by graduate students in the school’s Fashion and Textile Studies program.
  • Showcasing Asian American achievements and contributions in fashion in the form of clothing, textiles, photographs and videos, the exhibit aims to offer support and amplify visibility.

The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) is putting on an exhibit meant to highlight “the Asian American community’s diverse contributions to the fashion industry.”   

“Asian Americans in New York Fashion: Design, Labor, Innovation” was conceived by graduate students in the school’s Fashion and Textile Studies program.   

The students were driven to highlight the community in response to an increase in attacks on Asian Americans, correlating with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Showcasing Asian American achievements and contributions in fashion in the form of clothing, textiles, photographs and videos, the exhibit aims to offer support and amplify visibility.   

“I began explaining that American style had always been seen through a white lens,” the exhibit quotes fashion designer Prabal Gurung. “I wanted to redefine the country’s style, because our experiences have been underrepresented.”   

The exhibit features multiple facets of the design process and fashion industry, from conception to production. 


America is changing faster than ever! Add Changing America to your Facebook or Twitter feed to stay on top of the news. 


A 1983 photograph from Harvey Wang is on display, portraying New York textile laborers working in a factory, a particular part of the process that goes unseen and uncelebrated.

Patrons can also see a brown jacket adorned with gold sequins designed by Yeohlee Teng, which features the seamstress’s name, “Sue,” on the tag — a reflection of Teng’s respect for the workers involved in creating her visions.   

Featured designers Mary Ping and Jean Yu are lauded for their sustainable fashion: Yu’s custom lingerie utilizes “artisanal production” and for clothing longevity, while Ping uses sustainable materials such as canvas.    

Other designers garner inspiration from their cultural backgrounds to influence their designs. The brand Opening Ceremony portrayed a Korean landscape on a biker jacket to visualize these influences. Meanwhile, Naeem Khan offers a celebratory nod to his family’s embroidery company in Mumbai, India by incorporating embellishment and embroidery in a number of his works.    

“The goal of this exhibition is to highlight the wide variety of ways Asian Americans have participated in fashion in New York,” FIT wrote on Instagram, “from the upper echelons of high-profile designers to the sectors of production and labor that have tended to be invisible in fashion exhibitions.”   

“Asian Americans in New York Fashion: Design, Labor, Innovation” runs from March 2-27. 


READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA 
THIS IS THE GENDER WAGE GAP IN YOUR STATE 
FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE TO RELEASE NINE ENDANGERED RED WOLVES NEAR THE OUTER BANKS  
EDUCATION DEPARTMENT TO ERASE $415 MILLION IN STUDENT LOAN DEBT FOR NEARLY 16,000 BORROWERS 
JUST 20 MINUTES OF DAILY EXERCISE AT 70 COULD STAVE OFF MAJOR HEART DISEASE: STUDY 
FEARS OF AVOCADO SHORTAGE RISE AFTER IMPORT BAN 
SILICON VALLEY TURNS TO TINY HOMES TO END HOMELESSNESS BY 2025