Growing up in San Gabriel, Tanya Zhang said her parents who immigrated to the U.S. from China struggled to adjust to American culture. One struggle her father had was finding clothes that appropriately fit him, Zhang said.
Zhang, who graduated from UC San Diego with a degree in interdisciplinary computing and the arts, said she was heartbroken when her father told her American clothing brands didn’t compliment his body.
“I wanted American clothes to fit him so it could be another reason for him to stay in the states permanently,” Zhang said. “I think it did subconsciously affect the way my dad perceived Western culture and he saw it as one that didn’t include him.”
But Zhang’s father isn’t the only Asian-American man who has trouble finding clothes that fit him, she said.
Zhang, along with her partner, Wesley Kang, are the founders of Nimble Made, a clothing brand that recently launched that offers an “actual slim-fit” cut for the typical Asian-American man.
“This brand stems from my co-founder Wesley Kang’s personal problem of not being able to find a dress shirt that fit him as a 5’5,” 140-pound Taiwanese-American working in finance in NYC,” Zhang said. “He very much depicts one archetype of our customers and served naturally as someone we built this brand for.”
Although Zhang, who left her full-time job at Ernst & Young LLP to focus on Nimble Made, realizes that Asian-American men come in all different body types, she and her partner wanted to bring to life a true slim-fit cut, she said.
“The ‘slim fit’ dress shirts at retailers like J. Crew, Calvin Klein, Brooks Brothers, Charles Tyrwhitt, and Thomas Pink are still too baggy, ill-fitting for Wesley and he fits better in Uniqlo, H&M, Zara but would have to sacrifice the quality of the dress shirt for its fit,” Zhang said. “Nimble Made is a men’s actually slim fit dress shirt brand because we’ve trimmed down measurements across the back/shoulders, sleeves, shirt length, chest.”
Other than defining the cut of the shirts, Zhang said they also chose quality materials to create their products. Nimble Made dress shirts are made of 100 percent long-staple cotton, while other brands advertise “cotton,” their shirts are usually made of a blend of cotton, Zhang said.
Zhang said she hopes her shirts, which can be purchased online, will help define Asian-Americans.
“I hope to build a brand that people think first as the Asian American version of J. Crew where you see Asian American models and dress shirts named after the Asian diaspora,” said Zhang, who has sold more than 200 shirts. “As Nimble Made scales, I want to provide more opportunities to work with AAPI photographers, models, content creators, fashion bloggers and more to continue to build the brand together.”
For more information, go to www.nimble-made.com.