Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Is the rise in asian models a fad?


The modelling world is ever changing and evolving. Every season sees a crop of new models emerging and what’s popular one season can be out of favour the next.

2010 saw the rise of the Asian model. Is this just a momentary fad? Or is it more a change in the tide?I for one hope that the latter applies and many industry experts agree. One interesting thing about the rise in Asian models is that its not Asian-American models making it, its models that are Asian born and bred.

One factor in this uprising is the fact that many of the major fashion and beauty brands are cottoning on to the fact that the Asian global markets are an important source of income in the current economic situation (China, Japan and South Korea in particular). Customers in these countries want to see models that are representative of themselves and to know that the products or garments suit their face shape, skintone or body shape.

Another factor is the easing of travel restrictions. Whereas before Asian models would often have difficulty gaining work visas, the relaxation of the rules has allowed them to work further afield.

Of course there are still brands who still wouldn’t consider using Asian models as they don’t believe they have mass appeal. But the tide is changing and quite quickly.


One Asian model who has rapidly made a name for herself is Chinese beauty Liu Wen. She established her career with Vogue China and the Chinese edition of Harpers. From there she developed an international presence after hitting the Paris catwalk in Spring 2008 for designers Chanel and Jean Paul Gaultier. She’s since appeared in Paris, Milan and New York working for a whole host of top designers including Michael Kors, Ballenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Caroline Herrera, Proenza Schouler, Alexander Wang & Salvatore Ferragamo. And now she has been signed by Estee Lauder which makes her the 1st Chinese model they’ve ever signed.

US Vogue also did an all-Asian double spread feature entitled ‘Asia Major’ heralding the rise of Asian models in the fashion world. It featured 8 of Asias biggest models including Liu Wen, Japanese model Tao Okamoto and Lily Zhi. A lot of criticism has been levelled at Vogue for not giving them a larger feature or a cover but in my opinion its a step in the right direction.

This surge in Asian models is said to be having an effect on Asian ideals of beauty as many of the top Asian models don’t conform to the Asian idea of beauty which has to be a good thing. Beauty comes in many different forms and the catwalk is finally starting to represent this. I hope that the rise of Asian models isn’t just a fad and that the fashion world becomes more accepting of ALL races and shows more diversity in its choice of models as after all the people buying the clothes and beauty products come from all over the world.


  1. This is a great post, informative and well written! You should submit it for IFB's Links a la Mode list next week. - Katy

  2. Thanks Katy :) I already submitted it :) Fingers crossed x

  3. Hi there, great blog, love the photoshoot in the post below.
    I've added you to my faves list
    Rianna xxxx

  4. I don't know if it's a fad or not but I hope they stick around, I love diversity on the runway and in mags!

  5. [...] Fuyume: Is the rise of Asian models a fad? [...]

  6. You're spot-on in saying that the Asian supers don't look at all like the Asian beauty ideal in the magazines. Doll-like faces, large eyes, straight noses, and porcelain skin seem to be the ideal in a lot of mainstream Asian fashion mags.

  7. I love the rising of the new asian models. They are gorgeous and they are here to stay, as Asia is the global, rising market.

  8. i'm so glad that you mentioned Liu Wen. when i saw the post title, she was exactly who i thought of. i don't know if the rise of asian models is a fad, but i honestly think that asian models have some staying power. i think that the fact that they are not stereotypically beautiful works to their advantage, because who wants to see the same faces all the time?

  9. My sentiments exactly :)

  10. [...] Fashion magazines have also taken note with Vogue China becoming a lot more popular both in China and internationally. Vogue US also ran a feature on the rising popularity of Asian models. [...]

  11. Liu Wen is gorgeous! I look forward to seeing more of her here in the states!

  12. She is amazing she's fast becoming one of my fave models :)


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