Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Tokyo Recap: Noir Fr


Ah yes, the dark side of spring. While we enjoy seeing the lighter and bolder color palettes Fashion Week Tokyo has to offer, Noir Fr’s designer, Syota Masuda, refuses to leave the blacks and metallics of fall and winter behind. The namesake of the collection explains why such somber tones are used: Noir Frere is French for brothers of black (the base for the designs). Masuda initially studied to be a fashion buyer, but found himself taking the leap to become a designer and produce garments that he felt the market lacked.

Don’t let the darkness hinder you from adding some black into your spring and summer rotation. For the warm temperatures Noir Fr has dresses of flowing, sheer fabrics with cutouts and skirts to pair with metallic paneled tops. On those inbetween days of seasonal transition, check out the iridescent trench coat of bronze and blue or the long-line, minimalist moto collar jacket. With both a men’s and women’s line, Masuda’s designs tackle all the on-going, evolving trends from pro sport textiles to edgy rocker styles with modified elements befitting to his vision.

Below are some of Masuda’s Noir Fr S/S 2015 line from Day Three of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tokyo.

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All photos courtesy of MBFW Tokyo.



Update on Nina Pham: The U.S. Nurse Who Contracted Ebola Virus From Patient


Nina Pham, a 26-year-old nurse based in Dallas, Texas, tackled an extremely tough and brave assignment– she was one of the nurses who treated a highly contagious Ebola patient, Thomas Eric Duncan. Unfortunately, along the way she contracted the deadly virus herself.

Duncan was from was from Monrovia, Liberia which was drastically hit with the Ebola virus epidemic. He worked as a personal driver and allegedly came in close contact with the virus. However, his nephew claims this interaction did not happen. On September 19th, he traveled to visit family in Dallas. According to Liberian officials, Duncan lied about his history of contact with the Ebola virus on an airport questionnaire.  On September 14th, he began experiencing symptoms. By September 30th, the CDC confirmed that he had the Ebola virus and was quickly isolated. The virus proved to be too strong and on October 8, 2014, Duncan became the first patient to die within the United States of the Ebola virus disease.


 Nina Pham, the nurse who looked after Duncan, is the first patient to contract the disease while on U.S. soil. The exact way she contracted the virus is still being investigated.

“This is a very brave person who put herself at risk to do something good for society, and is now ill.” said CDC director Tom Frieden.

Pham attended Texas Christian University and graduated with a nursing degree in 2010. She is currently being treated at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. She recently received a blood transfusion from Ebola-survivor Dr. Kent Brantly. Brantly had also offered a blood transfusion for Duncan, however the two were not compatible blood types.

The transfusion seems to have affected her well. On Tuesday, Pham released a statement about her condition:

“I’m doing well and want to thank everyone for their kind wishes and prayers,” she said, according to the hospital. “I am blessed by the support of family and friends and am blessed to be cared for by the best team of doctors and nurses in the world.”


Texas Health Resources CEO Barclay Berdan has stated that the doctors involved with Pham’s treatment “remain hopeful” about her recovery.

There is an online fundraising site to support Nina Pham and her family. If you would like to send a message or contact Pham directly, there is an E-Mail a patient function on

(photo credit)

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Tokyo Recap: Ritsuko Shirahama


Ritsuko Shirahama has been designing since 1980 (with an official debut in 1984), and with each passing season, she still remains true to her unmistakable style—an interesting mix of Japan’s streetstyle scene, standout patterns and high-end fabrications. The inspiration for all her collections has been the aura of women. And not just any woman. As her brand concept states, “we sometimes [come] across a woman who emanates a different glow from others. For some reason, even time seems to move slowly and beautifully around her.”

For spring and summer 2015, Shirahama imbued her own signature on retro style dresses and woven, tailored jackets with funky graphic prints and bright patterns. Each style was paired with a head accessory to match. Our favorites: a couple of miniature top hats that reminds us of the lolita street styles found around Tokyo, but with a twist of luxury and classic waistline cuts.

The line is a bit eclectic, but Shirahama finds a way to appeal to lovers of both abstract looks and timeless looks. With modish black and white numbers to dresses that feel more like a watercolor painting, there’s something for everyone to enjoy viewing.



A throwback to the mod styles of the 60s.1



Funky, abstract graphics fit for street style fashions.

Make a statement with a pop of color.

Miniature top hats with luxury complements.


All photos courtesy of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tokyo

Marvel’s Newest Superhero Is An Asian American Woman


Exciting news for comic book fans! Back in November of 2013, Marvel revealed their first Pakistani superhero, Ms. Marvel. Underneath the suit was 16-year-old Kamala Khan, a Pakistani-American Muslim teenager.

Well it looks like Marvel is ready to put another Asian American woman on the superhero grid. Cindy Moon, who goes by the name Silk, will have her own comic book series by February 2015.

If you think she resembles Spiderman, you’re right. In fact, Silk was bitten by the very same radioactive spider that bit Peter Parker. Silk made her first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man where we learn that she has been locked away in a facility for years. We also discover that she was trained for six years to adequately use her powers. As a result, she is superior to Spiderman when it comes to speed, spider sense, and can create webs from her fingertips as opposed to Spiderman who must use artificial web-fluid.

Silk will be scripted by Robbie Thompson, the series will be drawn by Stacey Lee and Dave Johnson will be providing covers. In an interview, Robbie Thompson describes some of what we can expect from the series:


I can’t speak to the specifics of “Spider-Verse,” but it definitely has an enormous impact on her growth. One of the things that’s most exciting about her character is that she’s suddenly on this crash course of “how to be a grown up.” How do you land a job? Or have a life? What’s it like to have lost all that time?


That’s what she’s dealing with as Cindy Moon. Then on the Silk side she’s on a crash course of how to be a super hero. She’s been dipped into a pretty massive story with “Spider-Verse” and the adventures she has during it with Spider-Woman. So I think she’s learned a lot and had to grow up pretty fast, but she’s still on that growing curve. We’re going to be exploring more of that in the ongoing book. It’s about her growing up and really learning how to have both a personal life and a super hero life.


Read the entire interview here.


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Filipino Basketball Prodigy Kobe Paras Commits to UCLA, Gains Thousands of Fans


It looks like Los Angeles will soon have a new Kobe to cheer for. Kobe Paras, a 17-year-old basketball prodigy from the Philippines, first gained major attention for his athletic skills when he participated in a 2013 Nike exhibition in Manilla. Despite the presence of LeBron James, the 6’6″ teen was able to slam the ball into the hoop. The move was caught on video soon went viral. It wasn’t long before Paras was known as “the kid who dunked on LeBron.”



But now it seems the young athlete is going for even bigger nicknames. Paras, who played for La Salle Greenhills before pursuing a career in the United States, currently attends LA Cathedral. Paras has apparently already received scholarship offers from UC Irvine, Fresno State, Texas Arlington, Arizona State, Portland State, and Boston College, but it wasn’t until last week that he received an offer he couldn’t turn down.

UCLA coach Steve Alford visited a Cathedral game to watch Paras practice and sure enough, by the end of the game Alford offered him a UCLA scholarship. It didn’t take long for Paras to commit.

“I have made my decision… I’m really happy to say that I have committed to UCLA!” Paras posted on his offcial Twitter account on Saturday. In 24 hours, he picked up 1,000 more Twitter followers. In fact, the young athlete now has over 50K Twitter followers.

In a video posted on the Middlebrooks Basketball Facebook account, Paras was asked to describe how it felt to have committed to the Bruins. “It’s an unbelievable feeling, especially for a kid coming from the Philippines, a place that no one even knows about that much,” he said. “I’ve just been here for a couple of months… I can’t explain that much. It’s just a great feeling, just amazing. I’m so excited.” Of course he ends with an enthusiastic yell.

Many are claiming that Paras gained his talent from his father Benjie. Los Angeles Times reports, “In 1989 [Benjie] became the only player in the history of the country’s professional basketball league to be the rookie of the year and the MVP in the same season.”

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Images courtesy of


Top 10 Reasons Malala Yousafzai Is An Inspiration


1.  She is the youngest Nobel Peace Prize WinnerScreen Shot 2014-10-14 at 12.35.51 PM
Recently, Pakistani teen Malala Yousafzai was awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize alongside Indian children’s rights advocate Kailash Satyarthi. This makes 17-year-old Malala the youngest Nobel Peace Prize Winner ever. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has commented on this decision:

“Despite her youth, Malala Yousafzai has already fought for several years for the right of girls to education, and has shown by example that children and young people, too, can contribute to improving their own situations. This she has done under the most dangerous circumstances. Through her heroic struggle she has become a leading spokesperson for girls’ rights to education.”



2. Despite her age, Malala has been bravely advocating for her beliefs for years
Malala’s story is no ordinary one. Malala was only a young girl when she became an activist for education rights and women’s rights. At the age of 11, she began blogging about her life under Taliban rule. This was so powerful that in 2009, a New York Times documentary was filmed about her life. Her actions were seen as unacceptable by the Taliban and in 2012, Malala was shot in the head and neck by a gunman in an assassination attempt. The strong, young lady survived the attack and continues to fight for what she believes in.



3. The Malala Fund

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

In October 2012, The Malala Fund was formed which hopes to make her dream a reality. The fund provides grants for organizations which aim to empower girls through education. The Malala Fund’s approach consists of three pillars:

- Amplify the voices of the girls to keep them in the spotlight, inspire girls globally and drive action on girls’ issues by the global community.
- Advocate at the international, national and local level for policy and system changes that give girls access to a high quality education at a community level.
- Invest in community centered scalable solutions that provide quality education with potential for systems level change by empowering local leaders and educators.



4. Malala not only fights for education for her own people…

Malala has certainly called attention to the education rates in Pakistan. NBC News reports about 70% of Pakistan’s rural population is illiterate. Even more shocking, other reports show literacy rates in women as low as 23% in some parts of the country. Malala’s message on education had inspired many people, including her own mother who learned how to read this past August. “Our family shows an example to the world how things change with the help of awareness … and with the help of the importance of education,” she said.



5. …she fights for education for ALL people

When Malala claims she wants education for all, she truly means it. Last year, she left Jon Stewart speechless after sharing her thoughts. Malala described how she imagined an encounter with a Taliban member and how she would tell him how important education is. She imagined telling him “that I would even want education for your children as well. That’s what I want to tell you. Now do what you want.”



  6. Malala Day

July 12, 2013 was Malala’s 16th birthday and she spent it speaking at the UN to call for worldwide access to education. This was her first public speech since the attack, but she passionately spoke her mind to an audience of over 500 people. This historic event was dubbed “Malala Day,” but Malala recognizes the day for something else. “Malala day is not my day,” she said. “Today is the day of every woman, every boy and every girl who have raised their voice for their rights.”  

  7. Her work in Nigeria 

AP Photo/Olamikan Gbemiga

AP Photo/Olamikan Gbemiga

In July, Malala met with met with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja, Nigeria. She urged him (and even claimed it would be her birthday wish) to meet with the families of the 219 schoolgirls kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram. She then addressed the terrorist group by saying, “Lay down your weapons. Release your sisters. Release my sisters. Release the daughters of this nation. Let them be free. They have committed no crime.” Additionally, the Malala Fund created the “safe space” project in Nigeria which presents more opportunities to Nigerian woman to gain an education.  

  8. Her work in Syria and Jordan malsyria In February, the Malala fund helped hundreds of Syrian refugees enter safely into Jordan. The Malala fund currently provides educational programs for those refugees. These programs aim to protect, rehabilitate and educate the children. They also aim to invest in Syrian-led programs to rehabilitate the children.  

  9. Malala’s Memoir

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On October 2013, Malala’s memoir I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban was published and told the full story of Malala’s experience. “I hope the book will reach people around the world, so they realize how difficult it is for some children to get access to education,” Malala said in a news release. “I want to tell my story, but it will also be the story of 61 million children who can’t get education. I want it to be part of the campaign to give every boy and girl the right to go to school. It is their basic right.”  

  10. As a modern-day icon, she inspires the work of others  icons Needless to say, Malala’s efforts have sparked inspiration in others. United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown, launched a petition in her name a few weeks after she was shot. The Malala Petition aims to get every child in school by 2015 and received over 3 million signatures. In the world of art, Texas artist Anat Ronen wanted to blend the old with the new and create a mural showing both the strength of women in the ’40s and the strength of women today. He blended the 40’s feminist icon Rosie the Riveter with today’s icon, Malala.     (Source 1, 2, 3, 4)

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Tokyo Recap: HANAE MORI


Designer Yu Amatsu combines contemporary womenswear silhouettes with the raw elegance of nature in a dual showing of the Hanae Mori by Yu Amatsu S/S 2015 collection as well as the New Hanae Mori Style special event that took place yesterday. With awards and praise for avant garde styles and pattern skills that have landed him work for major New York brands, Amatsu maintains a deep regard for Mori’s signature inspiration, the butterfly, as he works to uphold the iconic designer’s brand.

For those who are new to fashion or currently developing interests in the industry, Hanae Mori is highly honored in Japan for her career that began in the early 1950s and the awards and honors she gained during her designing years.

It is not easy to be given the reins of design as a sub-brand under the respected fashion house, but in an interview with Women’s Wear Daily regarding Amatsu’s work, Mori only had praise as she explained why Amatsu was brought in. “He’s someone who makes very simple, New York-style, wearable clothes, and he also likes butterflies,” she said. “We had been looking for a young designer, and it was very important that he had experience in New York.”

Below are a few of the designs that were shown yesterday from both shows during the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Tokyo events. First, flowing fabrics of whites and blues with contemporary style folds and pleating, along with open lace details and looser cuts for Manhattan springs and summers seem ideal to what Mori was speaking of. Secondly, the special event that left viewers stunned at the beauty of Mori’s favorite insect, which was printed into a modern collection of dresses, gowns and separates.

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Image Courtesy Of MBFW Tokyo.

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Image Courtesy of MBFW Tokyo.

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Image Courtesy of MBFW Tokyo.



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Image Courtesy of Zimbio.

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Image Courtesy of Zimbio.

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Image Courtesy of Zimbio.

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Image Courtesy of Zimbio.

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Image Courtesy of Zimbio.

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Image Courtesy of Zimbio.





Meet the Designer: Moon Young Hee



During Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2015, Korean designer Moon Young Hee’s collection turned heads.

Moon Young Hee is known for manifesting Korean ideas in a modern form. This desing technique can be seen in her massive collection which shows an impressive amount of detail, mainly using monochromatic toned designs embedded with various patterns and textures. Her sophisticated design has sought to show the potential of materials being used and maximizes the elegant atmosphere.

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Even at an early age, it seemed Moon was destined for this career. Growing up, while other children played with toys, Moon was taken with needlework. Since then, she followed her dreams of becoming a designer and chose to study French literature in college since costume designing departments did not exist at her school back then.

Moon settled in Paris in 1996 to seek some challenge in a bigger world. What started as a curious adventure turned out to be much more difficult than what she had imagined, but that didn’t stop her from moving forward.

Showing hard work and dedication, she studied day and night at the library located nearby her atelier and studied early 20th century French fashion, which later inspired her to graft her own style using traditional Western designs.

Though Moon is recognized as a prominent designer today, she is known to live a very humble life. Not only does she prepare her lunch box on her own, but she also chooses to wear shoes that have been worn for more than ten years.

It is clear that Moon designs out of love and a passion for the art as opposed to commercial success. For the fashion shows, she dedicates her heart, soul and mind to work together to bring out the best in her collection. Her work demonstrates a pursuit of perfection and keeps an eye on every little detail. Needless to say, this pays off during the catwalk.


Photos courtesy of


Top Stories of the Week: Lunch Around The World, Asian Men in Television and The World’s Smallest Woman Doing Big Things

1) How School Lunch in America Compares to Japan, Philippines, India and Korea (CLICK TO READ)


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2) Jen Lee’s “Dear Korea” Shows What It’s Like To Live In Korea As A Korean American (CLICK TO READ



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3)Asian Men As The Romantic Lead: Before John Cho There Was James Shigeta (CLICK TO READ




4) Steven Yeun On How Korean Parents React To A Career In Acting (CLICK TO READ



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5) The World’s Smallest Woman Achieves Her Biggest Dream on “American Horror Story: Freak Show”  (CLICK TO READ

JANM Opens New Hello Kitty Exhibition

Los Angeles just got a little cuter with the opening of Japanese American National Museum’s newest exhibition, Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty, organized with Sanrio in honor of Hello Kitty’s 40th anniversary.

The first large-scale Hello Kitty museum in the United States, Hello! takes fans –– both the kids and the kids-at-heart –– on a trip through the brand’s archives, featuring vintage memorabilia, collections from collaborations and artwork that depicts the character’s evolution from a Japanese cultural figure into a global phenomenon. Visitors have the chance to view special pieces like the plastic coin purse –– the first Hello Kitty item Sanrio sold back in 1975 –– as well as Hello Kitty kitchen appliances, skateboards and surfboards and even a pair of boxers with the face of everyone’s favorite kitty stamped all over.

Gary Baseman for JANM

Gary Baseman for JANM

Older generations have the chance to journey back to their childhood with the wall of display cases featuring every Hello Kitty backpack Sanrio has ever produced. Another wall is lined with Hello Kitty plushes released throughout the years, giving viewers a visual representation of the brand’s transformation.

“I think our art portion stands up to any art exhibition in LA right now,” Dr. Greg Kimura, President and CEO of JANM, said last night at the VIP party for the exhibition, which was MCed by Japanese American actress (and former Audrey cover girl!) Tamlyn Tomita.

Hello Kitty vintage plush, 1976

Hello Kitty vintage plush, 1976

The art gallery proudly boasts 40 mixed-media works created specially for the exhibit by well-known artists such as Audrey Kawasaki and Gary Baseman, as well as collaborating brands like tokidoki and Swarovski. The celebrity and fashion portion of the exhibit illustrates the far-reaching influence of Hello Kitty, featuring the dress of plush toys Lady Gaga once wore for a photoshoot celebrating the character’s 35th birthday.

JANM has also opened a pop-up store for the exhibition, where visitors can purchase exclusive Hello Kitty for JANM items like pins, bags and coin purses.

The exhibition will be on view through April 26, 2015. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for ages 6-17 and free for ages 5 and under. JANM members receive free admission.