Phillip Lim Is Creating A New York For Young Multi-Hyphenate Creatives




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Phillip Lim, one of New York City’s beloved designers, isn’t creating garments to delicately hang in your closet. He’s dressing what he calls the “everyday hero”, a group of people who get up with a purpose, execute that purpose and then regardless of the outcome, do it again. As a voice for the AAPI community and young multi-hyphenate creatives that don’t just fit into one box, Phillip Lim wants to design for the “global citizen on the move”. With a strong focus on New York City as the landscape, Phillip Lim’s collection is the perfect pick when every day in the city feels like an occasion.

I spoke with Phillip Lim last week ahead of his panel discussion for BLEND OUT by DIAGEO in New York City—a celebration of multi-hyphenate creators who refuse to blend into their environment and instead choose to “blend out” by being their authentic selves. Lim serves as an example of someone that has found success by blending out of his environment. He pursued a fashion career against his parent’s wishes and defied the norms of what he considers traditional Asian culture. As a member of the AAPI community, he hopes to help others do the same.

“I’m becoming more comfortable with the word advocate,” Lim says. “I realized that I am a big part of this community and this community is a big part of me. Instead of separating what I do, which is fashion, and what I am, which is Asian American, why not put that together? I really like thinking about how we use fashion and our activations to ensure that we are including different voices from the community.”

Courtesy of Diageo, Phillip Lim.

Phillip Lim’s commitment to bringing more voices and expanding representation in the fashion industry can be seen directly through his work. In addition to his work with BLEND OUT. by DIAGEO, this past February, Lim opened an immersive gallery experience to the public instead of hosting a media-only exclusive fashion show. The experience called “A New York City Vibration”, showcased the 3.1 Phillip Lim fall collection through a photography and video series by the Japanese, New York-based photographer Jiro Konami. A clear appreciation for New York City showed in the space and Lim’s work.

3.1 Phillip Lim Fall/Winter ’23; Spotlight Launchmetrics.

“New York City is literally the melting pot of so many races, ethnicities and cultures. This brand is burned here in New York City since 2005 and it’s going to be about 18 years into it,” Lim explains. “We’re still here, you know. Full of pride and full of joy as ever…everyone’s invited to the celebration”.

When I asked Lim who else he feels is helping him build a space of diverse celebration, he immediately brought up his friend and fellow AAPI New York-based designer, Prabal Gurung.

“We’ve worked at ensuring that we’re always promoting our AAPI culture, our communities. I always say that you’ll go back to a place if you feel a bit more welcome. It is my purpose and my privilege to continue to build this portable space,” Lim Says.

And if Phillip Lim were to choose his own multi-hyphenate identity descriptor, it would be “dressmaker-advocate-son-friend-human”.