Asian Pacific American Heritage Month always serves as a good time to reflect on the region’s influence and cultural significance. A rather broad term, AAPIs include anyone descending from the Asian continent and the Pacific islands existing within Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. That’s a lot of cultures wrapped up in such a tiny descriptor. Especially when Asian and Pacific American nations have proven to be such a powerhouse in affecting the tides of the fashion industry, and for far more than being the primary sources of garment factories. The region has birthed an army of brilliant designers, been responsible for the pop-culture phenomenon behind the real crazy rich asians (I guess we now know who’s buying couture off the rack), and has had its long history act as the source material for many of the clothing trends we see today.
In honor of AAPI Month, we’re taking the question, "Do you know where your clothes come from?" to heart. More than just the ethics behind how your clothing is produced, where your clothes come from is also about the origins of its design. In a political climate like the one we’re in now, and in a fashion market that grows in international scope by the day, it’s more important than ever to take stock of the heritage of our clothing. We could always use an extra primer for the purpose of understanding the difference between celebrating and referencing a cultures traditions (clothing include) to avoid the misstep of unintentionally appropriating.
We’ve shed some light on some of Asia’s most well-known traditional dress-wear with a brief primer on how you can celebrate them yourself in a respectful way. Knowledge is power so arm yourself with some newfound history below.
Source: Who What Wear – Ray Lowe