The Asia Fashion Collection (AFC) stands as a pillar of support for emerging designers from across Asia, providing them with a platform to showcase their talent and compete on a global stage. Organized by Vantan and PARCO Co. Ltd., in collaboration with various Asian affiliates, AFC serves as a incubation project aimed at nurturing young designers throughout East Asia. With its annual debut at New York Fashion Week, AFC offers these designers an opportunity to reach a wider audience and make their mark in the fashion industry.
The AFC runway show during NYFW February 2024 featured five brands, each representing the creativity and diversity of Asian fashion. The brands are KIYOKA HASE, MIARI SHIGETA, and Sun Below, from Japan, RE RHEE from South Korea and YAXIN ZONE from Taiwan.
Kiyoka Hase, a third-year student at Bunka Fashion College, Japan, presents her brand, KIYOKA HASE, at NYFW FW24 with a collection inspired by the theme ‘NON-FICTION.’ Through her designs, she transports wearers from mundane reality to a world where fiction intertwines with reality. Embracing a post-apocalyptic narrative, Hase’s collection explores the idea of self-discovery and resilience in the face of adversity. With a focus on functionality and protection, KIYOKA HASE offers active wear that serves as both clothing and equipment for those battling their inner demons daily. Born in Shiga Prefecture, Japan, Hase launched her brand in 2023, embodying her vision of empowering individuals to “FREE YOURSELF” through fashion.
Miari Shigeta, a fourth-year student at Bunka Fashion College in Japan, debuts her brand, MIARI SHIGETA, at NYFW FW24 with a collection inspired by the theme ‘CYCLING TRAIL.’ Reflecting on the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, Shigeta explores the longing for freedom and open spaces amidst the constraints of crowded trains. Drawing inspiration from cycling wear and the serenity of waterside landscapes, the collection showcases the imagery of a girl riding a bicycle to find solace in nature. Collaborating with illustrator Tsuki-chan and 3D modelist aab, Shigeta brings her vision to life through graphics and designs. MIARI SHIGETA’s brand concept revolves around celebrating self-love and empowerment, offering dynamic and attention-grabbing pieces. Born in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan, Shigeta launched her brand in 2022, emphasizing the magic of falling in love with oneself through fashion.
Naito Oikawa, coming from Japan and a student at the Vantan Design Institute, unveils his brand, Sun Below, at NYFW FW24. Drawing inspiration from personal experiences and observations, Oikawa’s collection goes into the dichotomy of brightness and desolation, reminiscent of moments spent yearning for his father’s approval during car rides to the gym. The brand’s theme, rooted in Oikawa’s reflections, juxtaposes the pale and deserted scenery with the radiant presence of his father, despite his worn appearance. Inspired by the sport of boxing, Sun Below creates apparel that embodies resilience and shines through adversity, mirroring Oikawa’s journey of unfulfilled aspirations and ongoing challenges. With a background in boxing since childhood, Oikawa transitioned from a professional boxing career to pursue his passion for fashion, culminating in his admission to the Vantan Design Institute in 2022. Through Sun Below, Oikawa translates his life experiences into clothing.
June Bok Rhee and Hyun Jung Joo, originating from South Korea and alumni of Central Saint Martins London, unveil their brand, RE RHEE, at NYFW FW24. Their collection, themed ‘The Ripping Essence and Distorted Allure,’ dives into the emotions and experiences encountered during the creative process. Drawing inspiration from the interplay of darkness and light, RE RHEE captures the essence of creation—moments of excitement intertwined with a sense of emptiness. Through a fusion of fabrics like lace, sequins, and leather, the collection evokes the myriad emotions encountered by artists, from formidable challenges to subtle brilliance. RE RHEE’s designs, characterized by refined luxury and restrained trends, celebrate individual identity through a blend of ivory, sophisticated black, and vibrant accents.
Yahsin Chung, coming from Taiwan and educated at Brunel University and Parsons School of Design, presents YAXIN ZONE at NYFW FW24 with a collection themed ‘TRANSFORMATION.’ Inspired by cultural symbols and the evolution from light to darkness, the collection is about the journey of metamorphosis and self-discovery. Through expressive dance movements, YAXIN ZONE portrays the transition from a pure and radiant state to an unrestrained black swan, symbolizing liberation and the pursuit of one’s true self. Using tweed as the primary fabric, the collection features voluminous sleeve shapes gradually enlarging to represent transformed wings, with each outfit crafted from fabrics sourced from Taiwan, supporting for the local textile industry.