Up till now, in the fashion industry, Asians have always been followers: following the beauty standards and trends set by westerners. But inclusive fashion pioneer, Donni Zheng, and her Healthy Fashion Movement are making history as the first Asian-led fashion movement, breaking the stereotype that Asians don’t speak up and mostly follow. Originally created to redefine beauty standards and empower women of all races, the time for this revolutionary movement has never been more vital.
With the #StopAsianHate campaign drawing international attention to the ubiquitous violence of Asian citizens in America, Donni’s Healthy Fashion Movement is tackling this crisis head on by expanding their mission and committing to change Asian representation in the media. According to Diet Prada, “the Hollywood media, as well as the fashion industry, are in great part responsible for this violence, as they perpetuate dangerous stereotypes, of Asian women in particular.”
Donni herself is perfectly poised to foment this much needed change as she has already broken through several “impossible” barriers in both the fashion industry and in China’s highly competitive media market. First, she challenged current extreme beauty standards by becoming Asia’s first mid-sized runway model, appearing at Paris Fashion Week, NY Fashion Week, and other high-profile fashion events. In addition, she became the youngest producer at China’s most influential TV network, CCTV, where she swiftly leveraged the platform to bring together world-renowned fashion icons, influencers and celebrities to join and advocate for the Healthy Fashion Movement.
Among the top designers and legends supporting Donni’s movement are Japan’s iconic Yumi Katsura, China’s premiere designer Guo Pei, renowned investor Jim Rogers, and celebrity designer Maggie Norris. Donni’s dynamic interviews with these figures on CCTV have proved a powerful vehicle, through which the Healthy Fashion Movement has empowered millions of women, now reaching fourteen different countries worldwide. These important conversations about the current extreme beauty standards are also helping to bring up-to-date health education from the west to the east.
Donni spent her academic career in public health, achieving excellence at some of the world’s top universities, including UCLA, Columbia and Stanford. Despairing people’s lack of understanding about healthy weight range, which results in their efforts on dangerous weight-loss programs, Donni became determined to educate young people everywhere, pushing the envelope on inclusive fashion as a whole. While other body positivity movements have made great strides, Donni’s movement is totally redefining the beauty ideal, basing it entirely on health, not merely on “size” or other societal standards. Her current health educational partners include Miss Fashion Week here in the US and Body Banter in Hong Kong. This unwavering commitment to health education will “eliminate body shaming and prevent eating disorders, but also, we’re offering life-strategy consulting in order to empower women in their everyday lives, so they can achieve their full potential,” Donni said in a recent interview.
This focus on empowerment is why the Healthy Fashion Movement is now at the forefront of the #StopAsianHate campaign and ready to take on Asian misrepresentation in the media. Forty-one to sixty-one percent of Asian women report having experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime, a rate higher than any other ethnic group. Donni bemoans these statistics, recently posting on social media that “this is due to the stereotyping of Asian women as exotic creatures, either hyper-sexualized temptresses or submissive who lack any agency.” She goes on to declare of her movement: “We are challenging the convention that Asians are obedient, small, slim, risk-averse, and rebranding Asians by embodying the new generation of Asian — independent, strong, well-educated, and bold enough to speak up to lead a fashion revolution in the West.”
But the Healthy Fashion Movement and its ever-growing team of high-profile advocates are doing more than that: they are bridging the inclusive fashion between the eastern and the western cultures.
Donni’s arrival in Los Angeles heralds an incredible opportunity for western designers, influencers and top-tier brands to appear on its CCTV program where they can directly promote their work and products to billions of consumers in a previously untapped market. With gratitude, Donni credit this career inspiration to her role model Jaeson Ma, who is a revolutionary pioneer that bridges talent between the Asian and western cultural market. Thanks to Ma’s mentorship, Donni has just the right edge to concatenate audiences from the US and China, as she is immersed in the fusion of these two cultures, having her own unique fashion taste and an insightful mind as to the best ways to properly create more cultural value for all her current and future partners.
Making real change happen for real people. Donni Zheng and the Healthy Fashion Movement is continuing to invite the rest of the world to unite together to empower young generations, and #StopAsianHate.
[Image via Fame by Sheeraz]