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Why Asian Americans Love Brands

By Kenzel Williams

Walk into a club meeting for the Philippine American Student Association (PASA) and you’re sure to find big-name brand clothing on members.

Logos such as Adidas, Bape, and Supreme can be spotted throughout the crowd, and PASA’s executive board seems to be picking up on this trend. 

Recently, PASA historians Justin de Ocampo and Kyra Saley designed t-shirts based off of Patagonia’s logo. The first four letters of the brand were replaced with the club’ acronym, PASA-gonia.

Ocampo wanted to make t-shirts that are both easily recognizable and unique.

“If people would already wear the brand on their own and they enjoy the club that they’re in, then they would definitely be into buying,” Ocampo said.

PASA isn’t the only Asian club to gain inspiration from clothing brands. The Southeast Asian American Student Association (SEAASA) drew inspiration from Antisocial Social Club’s (ASSC) logo, complete with pink flowers.

Summer Tran, the vice president, and creative director of SEAASA, used ASSC as the inspiration because a lot of Asians like the brand.

This isn’t the first time ASSC popped up in Asian culture. A popular social media brand Asians Never Die released merchandise similar to the ASSC logo with the term, “Asian Squat Social Club.”

ASSC has also collaborated with notable Asian brands, including Hello Kitty and BT21, a project of characters designed by popular K-pop group BTS.

SEAASA has also designed t-shirts based off of Golf Wang and FILA. Tran contributed this idea to the fake designer brand markets in Asia.

SEAASA

“I feel like copying brands is a cultural salute,” Tran said. “In Asia, they have a lot of fake Gucci, fake Supreme that they sell in outdoor markets.”

Asia has a huge fake designer brand market. Traveling to an East/Southeast Asian country, one is sure to find fake Louis Vuitton or fake Supreme shirts with knock-off designs at discounted prices.

As a result of social media, there has been a trend amongst Asians to favor brand-name clothing. Ocampo and Tran both contributed this trend to popular Asian influencers advertising fashion, such as TikTokers and K-pop stars.

People want to have the designer brands that their favorite idols have, but they don’t want to spend money on the actual products.

PASA and SEAASA are putting their own twist on this market. Their members can grab Patagonia and ASSC t-shirts at lower prices, even if the logos aren’t the exact same.

“People like having clout,” Ocampo said. “Mimicking these brands gives them a sense of clout.”

Associating the clubs with brands such as ASSC and Patagonia adds a coolness factor, or “clout,” to the member associations. 

Don’t get the Asian fake markets confused with the Asian student associations, though. The designers make sure to add in their own creativity for an original design.

“I don’t copy the brands completely so I hope I don’t get sued,” said Tran. “I put my own twists to it.”


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