Phillip Lim talks about “Made in China” and becoming Chinese at Shanghai Fashion Week

“People are always asking me,’are you Thai, are you Chinese, are American, what are you?’ ,” states Asian American designer Phillip Lim in the point in the Business of Fashion’s (BoF) first China Summit. He joins a gathering of business heavyweights and insiders, led by BoF founder Imran Amed, at the one-day event researching the China and international markets and unpacking China’s unexpected power moves in fashion.
And while he identifies with those things, Lim is today, at Shanghai Fashion Week, researching his China relationship. “I’m Chinese and I have asked a lot how does it feel to be Chinese but not to be from here”. “In Chinese culture, things aren’t spoken. Growing up in the West, you are so utilized to being outspoken,” he states,”but in Chinese families, at home it’s always about honor and things you won’t need to be told. A whole lot of values and nuances… there’s humility and hard work.” Lim is in the ethnically Chinese family, but was created in Thailand and grew up in the united states, where his eponymous 3.1 Phillip Lim fashion label is based. The pair’s covetable fashion brand is one of hundreds of American labels eyeing the massive China market as bricks-and-mortar fashion retailing struggles back home. But with their natural links to China, Lim and Wen have an advantage — they already operate four shops in the nation, and China’s internet e-commerce giant JD.com sponsored the label’s latest New York Fashion Week show.
In Shanghai, Lim worked with floral artist Mark Colle on a flowery exhibition abstracted from his spring-summer 2018 collection, accompanied by a gorgeous interactive audio element. “It is in my blood,” he says. “As I get older and older I feel more connected [to China]… Wen and I are children of immigrants, first-generation Chinese immigrants. We’re proud of who we are.” Lim and Wen started their business at a time when New York’s scene appeared to be combined with fresh fashion brands led by gifted Asian American creative directors like Alexander Wang, Jason Wu and Peter Som. With a path paved by the previous generation, such as Vera Wang, Anna Sui and Vivienne Tam, New York seemed the epicentre not only of nouveau 21st century American fashion, but also an urbane Asian American motion. Phillip Lim (left) and Wen Zhou co-founded the fashion tag 3.1 Phillip Lim.Phillip Lim (left) and Wen Zhou co-founded the fashion tag 3.1 Phillip Lim. “People are constantly asking me,’are you currently Thai, are you Chinese, are American, what exactly are you?’ ,” says Asian American designer Phillip Lim in the stage in the Business of Fashion’s (BoF) first China Summit. He combines a gathering of business heavyweights and insiders, headed by BoF creator Imran Amed, in the one-day event exploring the China and international markets and unpacking China’s unexpected power moves in fashion. An appearance by 3.1 Phillip Lim at New York Fashion Week in September. Photo: EPA A look by 3.1 Phillip Lim in New York Fashion Week in September. Photo: EPA And while he identifies with all those things, Lim is today, at Shanghai Fashion Week, researching his China connection. “I’m Chinese and I have asked a lot how does it seem to be Chinese but to not be from here”. “In Chinese culture, things are not spoken. Growing up in the West, you are so utilized to being vocal,” he states,”but in Chinese families, at home it’s always about respect and things you won’t have to be told. A lot of nuances and values… there’s humility and hard work.” Lim is from an ethnically Chinese family, but has been born in Thailand and grew up in the united states, where his eponymous 3.1 Phillip Lim fashion label is established. The pair’s covetable fashion brand is one of hundreds of American labels eyeing the massive China market as bricks-and-mortar style retailing struggles back home. However, with their natural connections to China, Lim and Wen have an edge — they already operate four shops in the country, and China’s internet e-commerce giant JD.com sponsored the tag’s latest New York Fashion Week show. Lim collaborated with floral artist Mark Colle on an exhibition in Shanghai which was abstracted from his spring-summer 2018 collection. Lim collaborated with floral artist Mark Colle on a exhibition in Shanghai which was abstracted out of his spring-summer 2018 collection. In Shanghai, Lim worked with flowery artist Mark Colle on a floral exhibition abstracted from his spring-summer 2018 series, accompanied with a stunning interactive audio component. “It’s in my blood,” he says. We’re proud of who we are.” POST MAGAZINE NEWSLETTER Email SUBSCRIBE By registering, you agree to our T&C and Privacy Policy Lim and Wen began their company at a time when New York’s scene appeared to be combined with new fashion brands directed by gifted Asian American creative directors such as Alexander Wang, Jason Wu and Peter Som. Having a path formed by the prior generation, including Vera Wang, Anna Sui and Vivienne Tam, New York seemed the epicentre not just of nouveau 21st century American fashion, but also an urbane Asian American movement. Fashion designer Phillip Lim celebrates 10 years in the Business Lim’s tasteful, cool-girl chic is based on professional, contemporary tailoring and tasty fabrications — which makes the award-winning designer one of the very name-checked manufacturers in New York. “For us being’Made in China’ was a privileged thing — our goods were being made by the most skilful, talented men and women,” says Lim. Turn back the clock several years and you find few brands, even Asian American ones, that would openly admit, let alone celebrate the fact that they fabricated in China. The stigma attached to”Made in China” is in reality only just beginning to fade. “It’s going to take a very long time [for it to alter ]. Individuals still view it as a location that is quickly and huge and a black hole,” the designer says. “Our Chinese-based factories are so utilized to customers who just want cheap, fast and large quantities” that the ability of many of these workers was not completely developed or appreciated.
Phillip Lim (left) and Wen Zhou co-founded the fashion tag 3.1 Phillip Lim.Phillip Lim (left) and Wen Zhou co-founded the style tag 3.1 Phillip Lim. “People are constantly asking me,’are you currently Thai, are you Chinese, are American, what are you?’ ,” states Asian American designer Phillip Lim from the point in the Company of Fashion’s (BoF) first China Summit. He combines a gathering of industry heavyweights and insiders, headed by BoF creator Imran Amed, in the one-day event researching the China and international markets and unpacking China’s sudden power moves in vogue. An appearance by 3.1 Phillip Lim at New York Fashion Week in September. Photo: EPA A look by 3.1 Phillip Lim at New York Fashion Week in September. Photo: EPA And while he identifies with those items, Lim is now, at Shanghai Fashion Week, researching his China connection. “I am Chinese and I have asked a lot how does it feel to be Chinese but not to be from here”. “In Chinese culture, things are not spoken. Growing up in the West, you’re so used to being outspoken,” he states,”but in Chinese households, at home it is always about honor and things you won’t need to be told. A good deal of nuances and values… there is humility and hard work” Lim is in the ethnically Chinese family, but has been created in Thailand and grew up in the US, where his eponymous 3.1 Phillip Lim fashion label is established. His firm partner Wen Zhou is from Ningbo in Zhejiang, eastern China. Highlights from Shanghai Fashion Week: future sports, androgyny The pair’s covetable fashion brand is one of hundreds of American labels eyeing the massive China market as bricks-and-mortar fashion retailing struggles back home. However, with their natural links to China, Lim and Wen have an advantage — they already operate four shops in the nation, and China’s internet e-commerce giant JD.com sponsored the label’s most recent New York Fashion Week show. Lim collaborated with floral artist Mark Colle within a exhibition in Shanghai which was abstracted from his spring-summer 2018 collection. Lim collaborated with floral artist Mark Colle within a exhibition in Shanghai that was abstracted from his spring-summer 2018 collection. In Shanghai, Lim worked with flowery artist Mark Colle on a flowery exhibition abstracted from his spring-summer 2018 collection, accompanied with a gorgeous interactive audio element. “It’s in my blood,” he says. POST MAGAZINE NEWSLETTER Email SUBSCRIBE By enrolling, you agree to our own T&C and Privacy Policy Lim and Wen started their business at a time when New York’s scene seemed to be flush with fresh fashion brands led by talented Asian American creative directors like Alexander Wang, Jason Wu and Peter Som. With a path paved by the previous generation, including Vera Wang, Anna Sui and Vivienne Tam, New York appeared the epicentre not just of nouveau 21st century American style, but also an urbane Asian American motion. Lim’s tasteful, cool-girl chic is based on professional, contemporary tailoring and sumptuous fabrications — making the award-winning designer among the most name-checked manufacturers in New York. “For us being’Made in China’ was a privileged thing — our products were being made by the most skilful, talented men and women,” says Lim. He acknowledges it can be hard within the luxury market to”counter the stereotype that’Made in China’ is subpar and secondary”. An appearance from 3.1 Phillip Lim’s women’s spring-summer 2018 collection. Photo: Reuters Photo: Reuters Turn back the clock several years and you find several brands, even Asian American ones, who would openly admit, let alone celebrate the fact that they manufactured in China. The stigma attached to”Made in China” is in reality only just starting to fade. “It’s going to take a long time [for it to alter ]. People still see it as a location that is fast and huge and a black hole,” the designer says. “Our Chinese-based factories are so utilized to customers who only want cheap, rapid and huge quantities” that the ability of many of these workers was not fully developed or valued. 3.1 Phillip Lim Won’t rush its growth into the mainland Lim explored these possibilities at his Chinese factory, by asking staff to make a T-shirt by hand. “Initially they were trying to tell me to machine-make it, as it’d be quicker and more economical, but I insisted,” recalls Lim. The results? “This T-shirt became my signature,” Lim says with a smile.
T-shirt
Lim, along with a handful of others, are in an enviable position in fashion. Having established themselves in the global stage, their change into China is simpler”because we’re the client, we are Chinese”. Nonetheless, the independent label is in no rush to start a 3.1 Phillip Lim store on each Chinese high road. The strategy will be much more tortoise than hare. “It is still fairly daunting, it is a huge market. We attempt to approach it more like a souvenir: slow and steady, otherwise you can become a victim.”