Asian Influence on Urban Apparel

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The world is an ever-changing place. Trends, icons, and influences
come and go as the Earth turns. Such compilations of popular culture,
music, apparel, celebrities, and styles define eras; various decades
alone are determined by these variances, such as the groovy,
open-chested tie-dye shirts of the 1970s, the baggy jeans and
snapbacks of the 1990s, the prim and proper TV shows of the 1950s, and
the rock superstars of the 1980s. The 2010s and early 2020s are a time
period that is rocketing towards becoming branded by Asian influences
in contemporary fashion.

Following the culmination of World War II and the rebuilding of many
countries’ economics, the world as a whole experienced a baby boom.
This explosion in population was certainly felt in Asian countries
such as China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Thailand; so much so, in
fact, that China resorted to a one-child policy from 1979 until 2013
in a desperate effort to slow down its rapid population growth. Too
many residents living in overcrowded, communist-dominated Asian
countries led to desires by many offspring to immigrate to the United
States of America in search of better lives for themselves and their
children. This wave of Gen X immigrants entering the US created sudden
shifts in the country’s demographic percentages. As Gen X’s found
occupations, settled down, and gave birth to as many children as they
liked, the US’s Asian populations rose significantly. The
American-born Millenial and Gen Z generations started assimilating
into American trends and pop culture. However, sensing a need to
maintain ties to their Eastern cultures and realizing that
contemporary fashion trends were becoming more and more expressive and
open, the Asian Americans began integrating Asian symbols and
influences into their daily fits. This brings us to the present.

Companies that market well sell well. People who perform proper market
research are going to execute well-organized campaigns that attract
attention to customers. And as the Asian and Asian American
populations were seen by companies as eager customers who would only
acquire more wealth over time, translating to bigger market bases to
sell products to. Perhaps one of the best early examples of this type
of success was Kihachiro Onitsuka’s creation of the Japanese brand
Onitsuka Tiger back in 1949. This shoe company saw an early market in
young Japanese individuals who played basketball and ran around
frequently. Onitsuka’s major market appeared when a young runner from
the University of Oregon travelled to Japan and discovered Onitsuka
Tiger. He convinced Kihachiro that there was a substantial market for
athletic footwear in the US and partnered with Onitsuka in his
company’s early days. This runner’s name was Phil Knight, and his
company was called Blue Ribbon Sports, which later became Nike.

Nike learned a lot from Eastern trends and evidently took great notes
because they frequently delve into designing footwear and apparel with
Asian themes in mind. The National Basketball Association is sponsored
by Nike, and the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets both
carry Chinese New Year jerseys with Chinese characters on the fronts
(勇士 for the Warriors and 火箭 for the Rockets). These teams pay homage
to players like Jeremy Lin, Yao Ming, and Zhou Qi while also heavily
taking advantage of their popularity in China. Aside from basketball,
the company has done well to set up a four-story flagship store in
Shanghai and smaller stores and outlets throughout Asian countries.
The company has even put out sneakers that represent Chinese New Year
zodiac animals. Companies are realizing that Asian-themed apparel is
hot right now.

Asian influence is revolutionizing the streetwear industry. Brands
like Adidas, Anti Social Social Club, Supreme, and A Bathing Ape are
quickly taking notice of such popularity in trends, which allows them
to integrate references like Chinese and Japanese letters, bright
colors, dragons, lotus flowers, bamboos, cherry blossoms, lily pads,
gardens, and much more into their clothing. The pieces that these
brands make are like canvases that allow the designers to upload their
creative freedom onto sellable products. And they sure do sell; the
design and the brand name uplift each other to raise product value

Pieces this unique attract the attention of similarly unique and
powerful individuals. For example, Kanye West was a large part of the
early success of Anti Social Social Club with the famous picture of
him wearing their original hoodie design. Influencers such as Nigo and
Pharrell Williams built and marketed A Bathing Ape to get to where it
is today. Professional athletes, artists, musicians, innovators, and
entrepreneurs have all played roles in expressing themselves more
freely in an era that is diverging away from uniformity. As the
interviewees put it, people wear what they want to wear, and they now
have the pieces to illustrate their moods and lifestyles. This
assimilation of multiple cultures under one common interest is
ultimately healthy for society.

At LAWLESS, we aim to feed off of this positive energy. Our mission is
to empower creators of all walks of life to break any barriers
hindering them from reaching their aspirations. The products that we
choose to make are representative of a multitude of cultures to appeal
to all kinds of customers. On our “Concrete Rose” tee, one can find
imagery that represents an iconic Tupac Shakur poem titled “The Rose
That Grew From Concrete”. On the back of the tee, the Chinese
characters “没有脚走路” say “No feet to walk this road with” to pay homage
to the late rapper’s line. Similarly, on our “Culture” tee (which was
specifically designed for this project), we wrote the word “Creators”
in various languages, including Chinese, Korean, and Japanese, to
symbolize that anyone from any nationality can become a creator and
achieve their goals. Make sure to check out the rest of our website
and purchase a “Culture” tee!

Express Yourself

Culture Tee

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Official website of LAWLESS ™   est. March 2018.