They are known for their avant-garde approach, and elegant simplicity. These are the Asian designers you should bookmark and shop.
Asians are luxury’s most sophisticated consumers. Their love for big brands and ability to keep up with current catwalk trends have helped to keep the luxury industry alive through 2020. The Asian community is not just fashion-savvy, they also shop Western brands. There are many creatives from Asia who offer fresh design ideas that are shaping fashion trends globally.
The Asian community is a major force in fashion and has been setting the trends.
There are many designers in the shoe industry, with everything from avant-garde shoes to frames that can be worn. To funky everyday staples such as Yuul Yie’s novelty heels. Reike Nen’s sleek ankle boots and strappy sandals are elegant classics.
These designers have a lot of global footwear production happening in Asia. They are close to their factories and handpick partners who produce top-quality shoes. This breaks away from the stereotypes that ‘Made in China’ or ‘Made in Taiwan’ labels are associated with low production.
It’s more important than ever to recognize the influence of the Asian fashion community, not just the designer names, but the brands we support with our wallets.
These are the top Asian shoe designers you need to know.
Reike Nen was launched in 2010 and has since grown to be a worldwide accessory brand. It is now sold at Farfetch and Luisaviaroma. Yoon Hongmi, a designer, draws inspiration from vintage movies, novels, and natural materials. This is evident in the classic shoes, and accessories, that often have a contemporary touch, such as ruched leather ankle boot boots or asymmetrical sandal straps.
Suicoke, a Japanese brand that specializes in functional outdoor footwear, was founded in 2006 by an anonymous group of creatives. All Suicoke sandals feature the distinctive Vibram foam sole. However, the brand recently expanded into boots. Suicoke is known for its playful and wearable shapes. They have collaborated with Cecilie Bahnsen, Dr. Martens, and HAY.
Born in the UK, Sandra Choi is a British Asian. She was educated in Hong Kong. While continuing her education at Central St Martins, she worked as Jimmy Choo’s protege and continued her studies. Choo, a East London-based shoemaker, was serving a celebrity clientele including Princess Diana. In 1996, Choo founded the well-known Jimmy Choo brand. Since the beginning, Choi has served as the company’s creative manager and has helped to make the brand one of the most successful and well-known in the luxury shoe market.
Sunyuul Yie founded Yuul Yie, a South Korean footwear company. Sunyuul Yie founded Yuul Yie, a South Korean footwear brand, in 2010. The label is well-known for its distinctive, sculptural heels, bold, colorful details, and Yie’s own design of the brand’s hardware and heel details. Yuul Yie takes inspiration from modern art, embraces imperfection, and is proud of its uniqueness. This has greatly influenced the design of shoes today.
Charles and Keith
Charles & Keith is a fast-fashion brand that sells accessories and footwear in Singapore. Since 1996, founded by Charles Wong and Keith Wong, it has grown to be a well-known name. With recent collaborations with brands such as Disney and Cecilie Bahnsen, Keith has been well positioned in the Western market. Their ongoing influencer collaborations are likely to have graced your feed.
Osoi in Japanese means “slow or unhurried” and it is believed to represent the brand’s commitment to creating timeless, well-made pieces. South Korean accessory brand Osoi, founded in 2017, is well-known for its minimalistic belt bags and functional platform sandals. Heejin Kang, the creative director, has a background as an architect which is evident in the designs. Their collections are available in Harvey Nichols and Matchesfashion, in addition to being widely sold in concept shops around Asia.
Hender Scheme was founded by Japanese Ryo Kashiwazaki in response to mass production occurring across the fashion industry. These shoes, which are gender neutral, are inspired by iconic Nike designs such as the Jordans. However, they are handmade from pre-tanned leather so that the familiarity is stripped away. The brand, which is well-known in the male fashion world (Mr. Porter sells the line), also produces handcrafted leather accessories like belts and notebooks. Kashiwazaki teamed up with adidas in 2017 to launch a new line.
Toga Pulla, the second line of Toga’s shoe brand, was founded in 2017 by Yasuko Furuta (a Tokyo native). This brand, based in Paris, is most well-known for its Texas-inspired leather cowboy boots. They feature recognisable silver hardware like buckles and ornaments. Farfetch now offers the customisation program for the brand’s shoes, which includes the iconic details and avant-garde Japanese design deconstructed designs.
Yohji Yamamoto, a Japanese fashion designer, has been one the most influential since he founded his label in 1972. Y-3 was established in 2002 as a collaboration between Adidas and Yamamoto. The ongoing collaboration was meant to bring Yamamoto’s innovative aesthetics to Adidas. It fuses high fashion with sportswear and sneakers. The “Y” is for Yohji Yamamoto, while the “3” refers to adidas’ three signature stripes.
Stella Luna, a shoe brand founded by Taiwanese-born Stephen Chi in 2006. He comes from a family that is known for its manufacturing expertise. Italian-based design team, Stella Luna, works closely with leather factories and tanninries to ensure comfort and quality at all heights. Stella Luna has three shops in Paris and is also stocked in Hong Kong’s Lane Crawford, New York, and Barney’s New York.
Andante means slow. It strives to do things faster, not slower. Friends Audrey Parreno and Bea Campomanes founded the seasonless shoe brand. The shoes are made in Marikina City (Philippines) by local talent. You can find loafers, sandals, and ballet flats in vintage-inspired, timeless designs on the brand’s website. Pre-orders are also available at the start of each season. This helps to reduce waste.