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Every year, my family celebrates Lunar New Year by cutting out homemade red paper lanterns. We decorate them with lightly curled gold streamers and hang them from the top of our spiral staircase to the bottom. And then the activities begin. Lion dances, fireworks, feasting on dumplings and red bean pudding, and handing out red envelopes – all in the name of welcoming good fortune and prosperity into the year ahead. As if this wasn’t already enough, 2022 will be extra special because we’re celebrating the year I was born in – Year of the Tiger!
According to the legend of the Great Race, Tigers are known to be filled with strength and spontaneity. The Year of the Tiger will be all about making exciting changes – a year of fiercely pursuing passions. That whole “go big or go home” thing? We’re going big. Ahead, we've rounded up 13 AAPI-owned fashion, beauty, and lifestyle brands we’ll be (very passionately) shopping this year.
Founded by Clare Ngai, who immigrated from Hong Kong to the U.S., BONBONWHIMS creates playful Y2K inspired pieces that will definitely add some color to your world. I am completely in love with how versatile the entire collection is – either dress things up by adding a customizable pearl necklace ($125) to a LBD (little black dress, duh!) or keep it lowkey with a simple pink enamel initial ring ($42). This is everything I’ve ever wanted as a kid and can finally rock it, loud and proud.
I’ve been on the hunt for a delicate and timeless diamond chain. It’s a classic, keepsake piece that will never go out of style. This Heart Lariat Necklace ($860) leaves me speechless. Founded in 2017 by Korean-American immigrant, Jennie Yoon, the brand Kinn was started to replace the antique jewelry her parents lost when their home was robbed in 2017. In honor of those priceless heirlooms, Kinn creates curated and thoughtful pieces with the intention of being passed down as a keepsake for generations to come.
“Royal Tulip Nectar'' – doesn’t it just sound like a dream? This healing, quench-it-all hydrator ($65) will nourish and help repair your skin’s barrier. Each product created by Bloomeffects has tulips as its centerpiece –a beautiful yet simple ingredient with countless skin benefits. The brand is founded by Kim van Haaster and her partner, a fourth generation tulip farmer in the Netherlands!
Growing up, Tegan Woo faced various health obstacles before founding Amoda. The brand primarily sells premium matcha from Uji, Japan, but you can also find other types of wellness blends and adaptogen-infused elixirs on Amoda’s site. My go-to product is the Glow Matcha Latte Blend ($20) – which comes in convenient single serve packets you can bring with you on the go.
Chinoiserie No. 19’s velvet mules ($138) are the ultimate in luxury with a budget-friendly price tag. Founder Cathy Wong embraces the decorative art of old time, utilizing oriental motifs such as flowers, animals, and patterns on her handcrafted designs. Each has its own symbol and meaning, allowing you to choose the style that most reflects your personality. Since 2022 is marked as a year of change and transformation, I have my eye on the butterfly.
Beauty influencer and founder Sarah Cheung launched SACHEU Beauty in 2020. Having grown up in Asia, Sarah saw firsthand how facial rollers and gua sha tools were a cornerstone in traditional self care rituals. So what makes her products unique? Instead of using jade or quartz – which are often a hotbed for bacterial growth due to their porous surfaces – both the Facial Roller and Gua Sha Tool ($60) are made of 100% stainless steel.
Known for their modern minimalist aesthetic, JW PEI is a Los Angeles based accessories brand founded by husband and wife duo, Yang Pei and Stephanie Li. I saw the Gabbi bag ($89) pop up on my feed one day, and within weeks, everyone I knew had one! I totally get it though – it’s effortless while still being stunning. Their latest collection has me convinced that I absolutely need yet another “everyday bag”.
On the topic of self care, did you know that clay masks can actually be the cure to mask-ne? Three Ships’ dermatologist-approved skincare is made from 100% plant-derived ingredients like green tea and kakadu plum at an affordable price point. Connie Lo was 23 years old when she co-founded the brand in her parent’s basement – I’ve tried multiple products and have never been disappointed.
Candles, candles, candles. You can never have enough and if you’re going to pick up another, my vote is for Mala The Brand. Vancouver-based Melody Lim founded her hand-poured candle business in late 2019. In the past few years, her business has taken off, and you can now find them all over North America. I keep Sundays ($35), Cereal ($20) and Cabin Fever ($35) stocked up at home and always look forward to Mala’s seasonal drops.
Bras made for small chested women that actually fit right. What a concept! I’m grateful for Jaclyn Fu and her co-founder for creating Pepper, a community and brand for women with small chests who have often been overlooked. All of my issues with traditional bras (think: uncomfortable padding, getting stabbed by the underwire, straps that never stay on my shoulders) were solved when I tried the Limitless Wirefree Scoop Bra. Get it in the shade Chili for some Lunar New Year festivities!
Threads sells an array of classic, Italian-made tights and nylons in a rage of styles – sheer contour ($15), opaque ($19) and thigh-highs ($35). Born from her own struggles as an investment banker who could never find a pair in her closet without rips, Xenia Chen made it her mission to give you convenience, affordability and a great product that looks and feels good with Threads.
Yu-Chen Shih has been a beauty enthusiast for her entire life. While traditional Asian culture wanted her to believe that fair skin is the only beautiful skin, Orcé Cosmetics was created to set a new standard of beauty. The brand’s signature Skin Perfecting Serum-Foundation ($89) is a serum-foundation hybrid that leaves you with the most youthful, radiant finish. Not sure what shade you should get – use the handy dandy color matching tool to find out.
Jing Gao founded Fly By Jing in 2018, inspired by the amazing flavors of her hometown Chengdu and its famous fly restaurants— soulful hole-in-the-wall eateries so good they attract diners like flies. Her latest launches: The Hot Pot Starter Set ($135) and The Add Oil Duo ($39) are coming home with me this year to our annual Lunar Eve feast, where I’m guaranteed to be the new favorite child.
As complex as the history and traditions get (and believe me, they’re quite complex!), Lunar New Year is really all about celebrating the start of another chapter. A new beginning. An opportunity to do something out of your comfort zone. Happy New Year – may yours be filled with joy, prosperity and abundance!