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(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – On Thursday, May 8, 2014, the Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs (OAPIA) hosted a panel discussion encouraging artistic expressions and contributions from the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Over 80 AAPI community members and District of Columbia government officials were in attendance to hear from local AAPI fashion designers about their cultural experiences as AAPI designers.
Soohyun “Julie” Koo, OAPIA Director offered welcoming remarks and greetings. The panelists shared their experiences in the local fashion industry, their struggles, and the role of their AAPI identity within their work, and also showcased their design portfolio to the audience.
“The panelists serve as examples in the AAPI community for individuals pursuing non-traditional careers,” said Director Koo. “Their work and experiences can help to encourage and inspire young people to explore diverse career options.”
When asked about how their AAPI identity has affected their work, panelist and Hugh & Crye co-founder Philip Soriano noted, “Asian culture has played a factor in some of my company’s work. One of our currently offered shirt collections features colors and styles influenced by Japanese culture.”
In addition to Philip Soriano, fashion designer Khanh Pham, Hudiefly founder and CEO Jasmine Zhou, and Lê Tâm fashion designer and founder Frank Huynh served on the esteemed panel. Kathy Park, reporter and weekend news anchor for ABC 7 News and News Channel 8, served as the moderator.
The fashion panel served as OAPIA’s first event held in celebration of AAPI Heritage Month. OAPIA will be hosting additional events this May; please visit www.apia.dc.gov for more information.