26 Mar #STOPASIANHATE How the Fashion Industry is Addressing the Violence Against Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders
Texas has recently been in the national spotlight in the most unfortunate way. Our beautiful and diverse city of San Antonio has been impacted by the rise in Anti-Asian violence in the U.S. when local restaurant Noodle Tree, owned by Asian American chef Mike Nguyen, was targeted and vandalized with graffiti splayed across the windows with phrases like “Kung flu,” “Commie,” “Ramen noodle flu” and even the sickening message “Hope u die.” On the heels of this incident, the community came together and helped the restauranteur in cleaning, supporting by putting in thousands of dollars worth of orders and sharing this business all over social media, expanding the reach of support throughout Texas and the nation. The city even came together for a peaceful manifestation held downtown to show support and stand in solidarity with the AAPI community. At Style Lush TV, we want to express that we stand by our Asian American and Pacific Islander community within the Fashion Industry and in all facets, nationwide.
Mike Nguyen at Noodle Tree after racist vandalism. Photo courtesy of Mike Nguyen/Noodle Tree
Anti-Asian sentiments in the United States are unfortunately not new. In fact, the history of violence and racism towards Asians in the U.S. stems back to 1875 with the Page Act, which is the headliner for the Chinese Exclusion Act, in which Asian women were pegged as prostitutes in a racist and sexist immigration act. Since then, there have been multiple instances in history of anti-Asian hostility and legislation, including the Japanese Internment Camps after WWII with President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066, and the most recent surge in anti-Asian sentiment after the initial months during the Coronavirus Pandemic. “Law enforcement and society, in general, tends to really not understand how racism and hate and prejudice is directed toward Asian-Americans, and certainly not understand how it’s directed toward Asian-American women,” said Helen Zia to the New York Times, in the wake of the heinous spa shooting in Atlanta just last Tuesday, in which 6 of the 8 victims were of Asian descent. “So the instant reaction is generally to discount and dismiss it.” Zia, an activist, journalist, and author, has been documenting anti-Asian violence which has seen a historic rise of 150% in the last 12 months in the U.S. alone.
Fashion designer Philip Lim, Instagram’s Director of Fashion Partnerships Eva Chen, Fashion Influencer/Beauty Entrepreneur Tina Craig and Editor in Chief of Allure Michelle Lee are just a few among the AAPI leaders in the Fashion & Beauty Industries using their platforms to spread awareness, share stories and resources to end the senseless violence that the AAPI is facing. Using the social media hashtag #STOPASIANHATE, they have reached millions of people to spread this message to fight racism, support AAPI and raise millions of dollars to AAPI grassroots organizations that do the work for restorative justice.
Fashion Designer, Philip Lim. Photo sourced via CFDA
We’ve had the opportunity to have important dialogues with AAPI in the Fashion Industry in Texas and today we would like to share their voices. We spoke with Fashion Photographer Semon Tam, Publicist, Influencer and Beauty Entrepreneur Christina Coker, Vintage Curator and Fashion Entrepreneur Natalie Medina, and Fashion Merchandising Student and Style Lush TV intern Emily Vu to learn more about their sentiments towards anti-Asian violence, breaking Asian stereotypes, the #STOPASIANHATE campaign, the feeling of being a perpetual foreigner and their hopes for a brighter tomorrow for AAPI in the Fashion Industry and humanity.
Semon Tam – Fashion Photographer
Semon Tam, Photo sourced via Facebook
“First of all, we must stop racial discrimination against Asians. Stop Asian Hate! In addition, I have seen that the Asian fashion industry has caught up with the trend of the world. the works of Asian fashion designers have taken the lead all over the world. This is in line with the efforts of Asians. It is inseparable from the spirit of learning and hard work. I have confirmed this in participating in world fashion shows. I’m so proud to be an Asian American. We deserve the freedom to live in this country.”
Christina Coker – Publicist, Influencer, and Beauty Entrepreneur
Christina Coker at the San Antonio Fashion Awards. Photo sourced via Instagram
“I’m a 1st generation American on my Mom’s side of the family. She’s a born and raised Korean woman who has lived in the U.S. for about 2/3 of her life. With hate crimes against Asians in San Antonio (and around the country) rising and making national news, we’ve now reached the point where my Dad, sister and I will not let her go out alone.
Natalie Medina – Fashion Entrepreneur & Vintage Curator, Grey Moon Vintage
Natalie Medina. Photo sourced via Facebook
Emily Vu – Fashion Merchandising Student and Style Lush TV Intern
Emily Vu. Photo sourced via Instagram
Breaking through an era when we are waking up to the damage that stereotypes like the myth of the model minority, among many others, cause we need to realize that Asians are not a monolithic community. There are 48 countries in Asia and over 2,000 languages. These narratives drive divisiveness between the Asian community and other minorities in the U.S. like the Black and Latinx communities. This is especially dangerous because it reinforces the stereotype that they are not vulnerable and that they are different from other Americans when it couldn’t be farther from the truth.
We are sharing some resources to support AAPI and spread awareness to stop the violence. The Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) organization has a vast list of resources so please take a moment to visit aapip.org for more ways to help and get involved at the national and local levels.
Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) – AAPIP.org
STOP AAPI HATE – stopaapihate.org
Southeast Asian Freedom Network (SEAFN) – prysm.us/movementbuilding/national/
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund – aaldef.org
Asian American Psychological Association – Anti-Bullying Campaign – aapaonline.org
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