Six Asian-Owned Brands To Shop At To Help Support Asian Americans During This Time And Always

Six Asian-Owned Brands To Shop At To Help Support Asian Americans During This Time And Always

As a white person, it is my responsibility to uplift and make room for BIPOC voices in this colonized world. What happened on Tuesday, March 16 in Atlanta, Georgia was a disgusting and vile example of the white supremacy that runs deep in this country.

It was a result of the hateful rhetoric that has followed Asian people and Asian Americans since way before the Coronavirus emerged. However, since the start of the pandemic, hate crimes targeting Asian people and Asian Americans have risen 149% in this country from 2019 to 2020.

The sample size in that statistic is small, but it is telling. 

When the Coronavirus touched down in the United States, the top government officials at the time gave it the horrendous and racist nickname, the “China-virus.” This despicable message of hate gave the past administration’s supporters excuses to further discriminate against Asian Americans, whether through violence or harassment in-person and online.

Eight people lost their lives on the 16th.

This deep-seeded hatred of people of Asian ethnicity is not new, but it has been blown to a whole other level over the past year. The eight people who lost their lives and their grieving families have had to deal with the consequences that white supremacists have forcibly and violently thrust upon them. 

I will not name the murderer, for he does not deserve to be remembered, but we need to remember the human beings who were taken too early from their families: Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Soon Chung Park, Hyun JungGrant, Sun Cha Kim, and Yong Ae Yue. 

It is not the job of Asian Americans to teach us, specifically white people, that they are people who have lives and are just trying to exist while living in a country where so many people right now judge them based on their race. It is everyone else’s job to step back, listen to their stories and experiences, and give them the necessary room to do so. 

There are so many layers as to why the shooter did what he did, but the fetishization of Asian women is a big one.

You may read from officials covering the crime that it is “too early” to declare this shooting as racially motivated, that the killer was just having a bad day and had an addiction to sex.

Harmeet Kaur at CNN puts it well, stating that Asian women are so often hypersexualized due to centuries of systematic racism and stereotypes that Asian women are all sex workers. This is obviously an incorrect assumption, but it’s, unfortunately, one that has been going around for many years. 

I recommend that everyone looks deeper into the marginalization of Asian and Asian American people, specifically women, in the US and educates themselves on what they go through caused by the stigmas they face. 

As I mentioned before, as a white woman, it is not my right to sit here and take over the voices and platforms of Asian Americans — not now, not ever. I will instead provide resources on Asian-owned companies so you can shop and support them always, but especially in this time when they’re being racially targeted at a higher rate. 

It is important to always lift up BIPOC voices as non-POC people; you shouldn’t just donate or shop at POC-owned businesses when something bad happens. 

Hard Aspects 

Quite a new brand, Hard Aspects is an accessories company that aims to combine smoothly gold-plated and sterling silver metals with funky beads, cool charms and freshwater pearls.

Founded at the end of 2020 by Priscilla Zhou and Sarah Wright, Hard Aspects has grown from a unique sneaker accessories company to a full-blown jewelry brand that also provides necklaces, earrings and rings.

The sneaker or shoe jewelry comes in the form of simple charms you can buy as separates or different chains that feature little gummy bears and pearls. It’s a fun little way to add some sparkle to your sneakers, and they provide information on how to clean the jewelry so it stays looking fresh.

If you’re still afraid of getting them dirty, they offer some super trendy and eccentric necklaces that are sure to stand out. Here are some of my favorite pieces:

 

 

YanYan Knits 

If you love knitwear, this is the store for you.

YanYan was started by Phyllis Chan, the former Director of Knitwear for rag & bone, and Suzzie Chung, a designer based out of Hong Kong. This company takes modern and traditional styles and combines them together in their knitwear products, focusing on the trends of both New York and Hong Kong.

They describe their products as “emotional and thoughtful, reflecting the playfulness, whimsy and confidence of the modern empowered individual.”  The pieces are made from novelty yarn and are knitted in China, giving each piece character and uniqueness that can be hard to find in clothing.

Scrolling through their items, there are so many different styles of pants and tops, making it so anyone can find something they love at YanYan.

Here are some of my favorite pieces: 

 

 

NOTTE Jewelry

NOTTE Jewelry was founded by Jessica Tse as a way to show off her love of jewelry and turn it into something unique she can share with others. Inspired by New York and Florence, NOTTE is an eccentric brand that uses great quality metals and materials to inspire its wearers to have fun and never forget to daydream.

From earrings to necklaces to barrettes, NOTTE has you covered with whatever you’re looking for. Made of bright colored beads and delicate glass pendants, these pieces will surely make you want to dress up and go take pictures with your friends in your new matching jewelry. The aesthetic and brand image are obvious, resulting in consistency with each upcoming design without going stale.

I was truly stunned when I discovered this brand because I loved everything so much — I even have a few items in my cart.

Here are some of my favorite pieces: 

 

 

KARA

In 2013, Sarah Law founded her brand KARA after coming to the realization that she didn’t fit into one category — “Chinese, Caucasian, North American, artistic, entrepreneurial, progressive or traditional” — but was one big combination of all of these.

She was born in Los Angeles but raised in Hong Kong, and when she started KARA it was because she wanted the wearers of her bags to feel free to explore their individuality and have fun while doing so. They would know that their bag was created by and for someone who strives to break free of stereotypes.

KARA has many different bag styles and they’re a great option if you’re looking to invest in a great quality, uniquely designed bag. The brand doesn’t just stop with bags — they also provide playful hats, masks, prints and other smaller items that all fit under the KARA brand image.

Here are some of my favorite pieces: 

 

 

 

KAYU

Jamie Lim founded KAYU in 2011, and since its conception, the sustainable brand has only grown. Having been featured in many different fashion publications around the globe, KAYU continues to push the ethical boundary and challenge itself to constantly do better.

KAYU uses sustainable materials in their accessories to help minimize the environmental impact the industry has on the world. They are also ethically conscious of the factories they use to produce their products, working with family-owned factories and fair trade cooperatives.

KAYU’s goal is to be completely waste-free in the next five years, and their bags are made to last you a lifetime. You know you’ll be getting good quality and timeless pieces to add to your wardrobe.

Here are some of my favorite pieces: 

 

 

MAUBY

Founded by Carol Min in 2020, MAUBY is another newer brand that provides comfortable and sophisticated garments for women and feminine peoples.

The brand’s philosophy is to unite all women by encouraging kindness and helping to give underserved communities a platform to stand on.

Their clothing is of classic and timeless style, providing everything from comfy athleisure to cottage core prairie dresses. The pieces are also at an affordable price. Comfort is key, but style isn’t excluded when scrolling through their products and seeing soft, romantic pieces often pastel-colored that doesn’t take away the wearer’s individuality.

Here are some of my favorite pieces: 

 

 

 


Writer: Meghan Shouse