Front Row traces and celebrates the rise of Chinese American designers who decided to make their marks in New York. In the 1980s, designers such as Anna Sui, Yeohlee Teng, Vera Wang and Vivienne Tam emerged in the New York fashion scene just as the city was transforming its identity from a garment center into one of the fashion capitals of the world. Curiously, the growth of New York’s Chinatown, the preponderance of Chinese manufacturers (tailors and seamstresses) in the city’s garment district, and the increased outsourcing of garment manufacturing to China, occurred alongside the rapid growth of fashion’s creative industries and a broader shift towards creative driven production in New York.
Since then, a new generation of young designers, from Derek Lam to Phillip Lim, have gone on to build global enterprises alongside established figures in an international fashion world. The diversity of their aesthetics, their individualized approaches to branding, and their varying personal relationship to cultural identity has shaped what we now understand as not only New York fashion, but an American sense of style.
This exhibition, guest-curated by designer Mary Ping, features the unique visions of 16 designers amidst a larger narrative of social and cultural forces that accentuated and cultivated this group’s rise. Front Row will feature designer assemblages of signature looks while drawing on personal reflections that speak to unique artistic visions and entrepreneurial paths. From the origins of their careers and development of signature styles, to understanding their own complex relationship to the concepts of New York and Asia, the exhibition will explore the rise of these Chinese American designers and their relationship to New York City.
Participating fashion designers include Thomas Chen, David Chu, Melinda Eng, Jade Lai, Derek Lam, Wayne Lee, Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, Phillip Lim, Mary Ping, Peter Som, Anna Sui, Vivienne Tam, Yeohlee Teng, Zang Toi, Vera Wang, Jason Wu.
About the Museum
Founded in 1980, the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) is dedicated to preserving and presenting the history, heritage, culture and diverse experiences of people of Chinese descent in the United States. The greatly expanded MOCA at 215 Centre Street is a national home for the precious narratives of diverse Chinese American communities, and strives to be a model among interactive museums.
The Museum promotes dialogue and understanding among people of all cultural backgrounds, bringing 160 years of Chinese American history to vivid life through its innovative exhibitions, educational and cultural programs. MOCA welcomes diverse visitors and participants to its broad array of exhibits and programs. MOCA’s expansion accommodates its range of visitors which include: New Yorkers, domestic and international visitors, neighborhood residents, students and school groups from local and regional schools.
About the exhibition
Guest Curator: Mary Ping
Exhibition Design: Rebecca Shea
Valerie Steele (Fashion Institute of Technology); Harold Koda (Metropolitan Museum of Art, Costume Institute); Dorothy Ko (Barnard College); Christina Moon (Parsons The New School for Design); Jason Sun (Metropolitan Museum of Art)
The exhibition is made possible in part by Central Textiles (HK) Ltd.
Courtesy of the Museum of Chinese in America, for further information please visit www.mocanyc.org.