Phillip Lim: Bridging East and West Through Fashion

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3.1 Phillip Lim is a fashion label founded in 2005 by Phillip Lim, an American fashion designer whose parents immigrated to America from Thailand during the Cambodian Genocide. Celebrity fans include Rita Ora, Kendall Jenner, Jessica Alba, Hilary Rhoda, Maria Sharapova, Sofia Vergara, and Beyonce.

In 2017, he spoke at the Business of Fashion’s (BoF) first China Summit during Shanghai Fashion Week, addressing questions about his identity. Phillip Lim identifies as Thai, Chinese, and American. Although ethnically Chinese, Lim was born in Thailand and raised in the United States, where his fashion label 3.1 Phillip Lim is based.

He discussed the differences between Western and Chinese cultures, noting that Chinese culture often emphasizes respect and unspoken values like humility and hard work, contrasting with the more vocal nature of Western upbringing. His business partner, Wen Zhou, is from Ningbo, Zhejiang, in eastern China.

Phillip Lim (L), Awkwafina, and Prabal Gurung attend Phillip Lim (L), Awkwafina, and Prabal Gurung attend “The Farewell” New York Screening at Metrograph on July 08, 2019, in New York City (Credit: Ron Adar / Shutterstock)

Brand Philosophy and Global Influence

The brand 3.1 Phillip Lim was conceived when Phillip Lim and his co-founder, Wen Zhou, were 31 years old, which inspired the unique name of the label.

The core philosophy of Phillip Lim’s brand is to create elegant everyday classics with a distinctive twist of uniqueness. This approach results in effortlessly stylish fashion for both men and women, characterized by a blend of youthful elegance and individualistic style.

The company’s vanguard vision of designer clothing, accessories, and footwear at a contemporary price point opened up the once-dormant entry-level designer market. 3.1 Phillip Lim has established itself as a respected business model and is seen as a pioneering force in the industry.

Boots, sandals, and heels by Phillip Lim, an American fashion designer of Chinese descentBoots, sandals, and heels by Phillip Lim, an American fashion designer of Chinese descent

In 2022, Phillip Lim teamed up with fellow Asian-American fashion designer Prabal Gurung to be part of the creative team for the Disney+ series “American Born Chinese.”

Their collaboration involved designing costumes for this action-comedy television series, an adaptation of the graphic novel by Gene Luen Yang. This project showcases Lim and Gurung’s dedication to infusing diverse cultural stories into mainstream media, emphasizing the importance of representation in fashion and entertainment.

Manufacturing Ethos and Industry Perception

Phillip Lim’s products are primarily made in China, and he views manufacturing in China as a privilege, highlighting the skill and talent of Chinese workers. He acknowledges the challenge of overcoming the luxury market’s stereotype that “Made in China” signifies inferior quality.

Historically, few brands, including Asian American ones, openly embraced or celebrated their Chinese manufacturing origins due to the stigma associated with it. Lim notes that this perception is slowly changing but will take time. He points out that Chinese factories are often associated with mass production and low costs, which have historically undervalued the skills of their workers.

Phillip Lim, Michelle Yeoh, and Prabal Gurung arrive at The 2022 Met Gala Celebrating "In America: An Anthology of Fashion" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 2, 2022 in New York CityPhillip Lim, Michelle Yeoh, and Prabal Gurung arrive at The 2022 Met Gala Celebrating “In America: An Anthology of Fashion” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 2, 2022, in New York City (Credit: John Nacion / Startraksphoto / Cover Images)

Phillip Lim’s Personal Success and Brand Availability

Phillip Lim has built a successful career with a net worth of $12.5 million as of 2023. His designs, informed by his Chinese heritage, have garnered critical acclaim for their effortless “street elegance” and natural cool.

Born in 1973, Philip Lim has achieved remarkable success in the fashion industry. He received the prestigious Council of Fashion Designers of America award in 2007. His label achieved peak sales of 60 million USD in 2011. While subsequent annual sales have fluctuated, Lim remains a prominent figure in the industry.

In September 2023, after a four-year hiatus, Lim made a triumphant return to New York Fashion Week. His signature “elegant and cool-girl chic” aesthetic shone through, showcasing expert tailoring and luxurious fabrics.

Karrueche Tran attends the 3.1 Phillip Lim Fashion Show during New York Fashion Week at Center 415 on February 11, 2019, in New York CityKarrueche Tran attends the 3.1 Phillip Lim Fashion Show during New York Fashion Week at Center 415 on February 11, 2019, in New York City (Credit: Jo Robins / ACE Pictures / INSTARimages)

The brand is available at 3.1 Phillip Lim and in over 400 luxury boutiques and department stores across 50 countries. You can also find his clothing, bags, and shoes at Farfetch and Shopbop.

Flagship stores are in New York, Los Angeles, Seoul, Tokyo, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

Carry Your Style with Confidence: 3.1 Phillip Lim Fall Bags

3.1 Phillip Lim’s bag designs are always modern and edgy. His designs are covetable, and many celebrities, such as Miranda Kerr and Diane Kruger, are known to be fans of this brand. Let’s have a look at these great designs:

3.1 Phillip Lim ‘Ryder’ Satchel

The 3.1 Phillip Lim Ryder satchel features a rolled top handle and an adjustable and detachable strap. It also has an exposed zip-top, lobster claw clasp, and quilted detail. This should be perfect if you’re looking for a stylish on-the-go bag!

3.1 Phillip Lim Rabbit Small Ryder Satchel3.1 Phillip Lim Rabbit Small Ryder Satchel, $1,350

3.1 Phillip Lim Haircalf Small Ryder Satchel3.1 Phillip Lim Haircalf Small Ryder Satchel, $1,095

3.1 Phillip Lim Snake Ryder Satchel3.1 Phillip Lim Snake Ryder Satchel, $1,275

3.1 Phillip Lim Rabbit Small Ryder Satchel in Olive3.1 Phillip Lim Rabbit Small Ryder Satchel in Olive, $1,350

3.1 Phillip Lim Haircalf Ryder Satchel3.1 Phillip Lim Haircalf Ryder Satchel, $1,250

3.1 Phillip Lim ‘Ryder Hold All’

If you have plenty of things to carry in one go, this bag is just what you need. You can tote it two ways, which is convenient if you carry something heavy. The bag has two rolled top handles as well as a detachable and adjustable shoulder strap:

3.1 Phillip Lim Goat Medium Ryder Hold All in Hot Pink-Black3.1 Phillip Lim Goat Medium Ryder Hold All in Hot Pink/Black, $1,150

3.1 Phillip Lim Goat Medium Ryder Hold All in Black3.1 Phillip Lim Goat Medium Ryder Hold All in Black, $875

3.1 Phillip Lim ‘Racer’ Flap Clutch

Are you looking for an edgy, classic-contemporary clutch for a particular occasion? The ‘Racer’ will carry your stuff in style.

It features decorative turn lock hardware at the front side, and you can choose to carry it on your hand, your shoulder, or around your body with the adjustable and detachable belt-style shoulder strap with studs and lobster claw clasps:

3.1 Phillip Lim Snake Racer Flap Clutch With Strap3.1 Phillip Lim Snake Racer Flap Clutch With Strap, $665

3.1 Phillip Lim Haircalf Racer Flap Clutch With Strap in Black3.1 Phillip Lim Haircalf Racer Flap Clutch With Strap in Black, $685

3.1 Phillip Lim Haircalf Racer Flap Clutch With Strap3.1 Phillip Lim Haircalf Racer Flap Clutch With Strap, $685

3.1 Phillip Lim ‘Pashli’ Mini Satchel

Here’s another on-the-go bag that will add instant style to your day look.

While the silhouette of the ‘Pashli’ Mini Satchel is already chic, the exposed zip gussets, as well as the animal prints, add a tougher and chic-er style. Two rolled top handles with push studs, and also an adjustable, detachable shoulder strap complete this bag:

3.1 Phillip Lim Haircalf Pashli Mini Satchel in Antique Red/Black3.1 Phillip Lim Haircalf Pashli Mini Satchel in Antique Red/Black, $995

3.1 Phillip Lim Haircalf Pashli Mini Satchel in Natural/Black3.1 Phillip Lim Haircalf Pashli Mini Satchel in Natural/Black, $995

Other 3.1 Phillip Lim Fall 2013 Purses:

3.1 Phillip Lim Rabbit Medium 31 Minute Bag3.1 Phillip Lim Rabbit Medium 31 Minute Bag, $750

3.1 Phillip Lim Snake Ryder Ace Case3.1 Phillip Lim Snake Ryder Ace Case, $375

3.1 Phillip Lim Haircalf Ryder Ace Case3.1 Phillip Lim Haircalf Ryder Ace Case, $350

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