In light of Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage month, we’re sharing 5 Asian designers who have made significant contributions in their respective fields of fashion, visual art, architecture, photography, and UX/Web design.

Yohji Yamamoto – Fashion

Based in Tokyo, Yohji Yamamoto is a fashion designer famous for his avant-garde style of clothing that often features Japanese cultural aesthetics. His signature collections are primarily in black, a color he describes as “lazy and easy – but mysterious.” Yamamoto has won notable awards for his contributions to the fashion industry and owns an e-commerce store called “The Shop.” You can check it out here.

Japanese Fashion Designer Yohji Yamamoto

JeeYoung Lee – Visual Art

JeeYoung Lee is a Korean visual artist known for her interpretation of surrealism. She draws inspiration from her personal experiences as well as traditional Korean folklore and cultural style. Lee has a unique way of conceiving her artwork: she uses props to physically transform her studio – typically a small, rectangular room – into the design she wishes to create. She describes this entire process as a practice of emotional discipline.

Ma Yansong – Architecture

Ma Yansong is a renowned architect and adjunct professor at Tsinghua University in China. He’s a proponent of the “Shanshui City” concept, a model of urban development that seeks to integrate the city and nature. While this particular concept has not yet been put into practice in his native country, Ma has made contributions in architecture around the world. His signature projects include the Absolute Towers in Ontario, Canada, the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles, and the Ordos Museum and Harbin Opera House in China.

Absolute Towers, Ontario, Canada
Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, Los Angeles, USA

Rinko Kawauchi – Photography

Japanese photographer Rinko Kawauchi focuses on the little things that make life special. Her style revolves around capturing intimate moments and subtle emotions in everyday life. There isn’t one particular theme or concept she tries to convey; instead, Kawauchi focuses on chronicling the beauty of the world around her via photograph.

John Maeda – UX/Web Design

John Maeda is an Japanese-American web entrepreneur who explores the intersection of technology, business, and visual design. As Chief Experience Officer at Publicis Sapient, he works with established companies to help improve their digital business strategies, integrating principles of computer programming and traditional artistic techniques. Maeda has also written various books about tech and design. You can check them out on his site here.

Japanese-American Web Designer John Maeda