AsiaStore Blog - Events

Season of Japan Exhibition


Tonight kicks off Asia Society’s Season of Japan where AsiaStore is excited to present the collections of talented Japanese designers Mieko Mintz, Ayaka Nishi, Hatsumi Yoshida, Yuh Okano and Ann Chikahisa, along with product features by Karen Brocks and Rafael Colon. Each of these artists brings unique and exciting designs to the Season of Japan.

miekoMieko Mintz brings a unique flare to traditional Japanese designs. Meiko’s designs range from silk             Japanese kimonos, to Indonesian batiks and Indian sari kanthas. Each piece she creates incorporates both vintage and modern elements making every design a one of a kind creation.




ayakaAyaka Nishi, a new designer to AsiaStore, showcases her exquisite handmade jewelry. Each piece she creates is undoubtedly a work of art inspired by flora and wildlife, which was a big part of her upbringing in Kagoshima.




hatsumiHatsumi Yoshida another new AsiaStore designer, was born and raised in Japan, and then relocated to Bali, which is a main inspiration in her designs. All of her textiles are organic as well as masterly crafted to ensure that each piece has its own special flare.





Yuh Okano has quite a way with her fiber techniques and handcrafting abilities, creating pieces that are detailed as well as three-dimensional. Her beautiful inspiration comes from not simply from nature, but the organic shapes that appear within nature.




ann cAnn Chikahisa is another artist who draws exquisite inspiration from nature. Her handcrafted pieces of jewelry illuminate the beauty of stone and metal collaborating to create organic shapes and natural themes within her jewelry.




Karen-Brock-new-headshot-300x300rafaelWhile Karen Brock and Rafael Colon may not be Japanese, their spirits are in the east. Karen Brock showcases her vintage kimono quilts and Rafael Colon introduces street art turned fine art in the form of hand painted skateboards.



With all this new talent at AsiaStore, this is a shopping experience you won’t want to miss. The Season of Japan Exhibition begins Tuesday, February 9 2016 and comes to an end Sunday, May 8 2016 giving you plenty of time to stop by and browse. For more information be sure to visit .

Filipino Designer Sale Event: Rafe Totengco


Last Thursday, we had a Filipino designer sale event featuring the amazing Rafe Totengco. Rafe always surprises us with his fathomless creativity. Customers were in love with his sophisticated yet edgy shell minaudieres.

Here’s a brief interview we carried out during the event:

AsiaStore: When and how did you realize that you have a talent in designing?
Rafe: I’ve been drawing since I was a very young boy. I sketched before I could even speak, so I think it was sort of inevitable for me to end up doing something creative, and designing accessories was just another outlet for my creativity.

AsiaStore: Tell me about how your Filipino-American background influenced and inspired your current collection.
Rafe: Even though your background and upbringing definitely shape you, it doesn’t necessarily specifically influence one collection or another. It really reflects my own personal history and my own personal taste. So it’s not necessarily like being Filipino influences this collection, but it’s much more the fact that the collection is proudly made in the Philippines, utilizing raw materials from the Philippines.

AsiaStore: What is your design philosophy?
Rafe: I think my design philosophy is really to create things that are going to be classics, things that you are going to want to own and pass on as keepsakes. I want to design pieces that are iconic so that when you wear them, you feel really happy that they are specially hand-crafted, and not owned by a lot of people. My pieces are painstakingly time-consuming to make, so I don’t produce a lot of them. As a result, they are sort of limited-editions.


AsiaStore: What does it mean to you to have your designs sold at AsiaStore at the Asia Society?
Rafe: It’s a great compliment and I am very proud that I am included in a wonderfully curated location, and to be included in a really fantastic roster of Asian or Asian American designers.

Thank you all for supporting and attending the event! Stay tuned for more great designer events this Fall season! SHOP Rafe’s collection at:

Filipino Designer Sale Event: Bea Valdes

Last Wednesday, we had a Filipino designer sale event featuring Bea Valdes. Bea showed up with her family and they were all dressed to impress! Not only did many loyal AsiaStore shoppers showed up, many of her long-time fans or Instagram followers came to support the event as well! Bea charmed us all with her smile and style, and her inspirational speech about her design philosophy.



Overall, the designer event was a great success and we had so much fun with everyone. Thank you to all who came and supported us. For more photos, check out our Facebook photo album.

Cultural Heritage as a Source of Inspiration


(source: Asia Society New York Blog)

To celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, AsiaStore is highlighting Asian American designers and authors for the month of May with an expanded collection of products. Shop the collection online at any time throughout the month or at our New York store location from Monday through Sunday, 11:00 am to 6:00 pm and on Fridays until 9:00 pm.

We asked five of our featured designers, “How has your Asian American heritage influenced your work as a designer?” Here’s what they shared:


As a Chinese American artist, I am most influenced by my culture’s deep respect and esteem for nature. This can be seen throughout my work – from the eco-friendly materials (bamboo, stainless steel, recycled sterling silver) to the painted designs.


I am Chinese, but have experienced a cross-cultural environment since my younger years. Moving to Hawaii over 40 years ago added Hawaiian, Asian American, Pacific, and other influences and cultures. Designing has always been my first love. My love of designing jewelry started at a very young age from hanging around jewelry shops with my mother. While working in Shanghai ten years ago, I had the opportunity to learn Chinese knotting, which gave me the idea to combine an Asian look with semi-precious stones and pearls to produce wearable fashionable jewelry. Throughout the years of traveling and the love of jewelry, I have collected ideas and inspirations from every corner of the world.


Designing for me was not planned; it was a process that was inspired by both of my heritages. As a Colombian I take on the pre-Colombian earthy powerful influences of gold makers, and from the Ottomans the strength shown through elegant, magnificent, and sophisticated jewelry. My work is a true re-creation of what my Asian American heritage is, and I hope for the wearer to feel and enjoy the honesty of my creations.


In my opinion two main things reflect into your brand, whether you like it or not: your personality and your culture. From the beginning, one main goal has remained the foundation of my clothing line: how can I bring my culture into a modern and practical world and make it cool? To do this, I had to mix the right dosage of my culture with New York and cook something that is in the right balance.


I was born in Iran and grew up on Alborz mountain slopes. I have lived and studied in New York as an architect for the last 30 years. Balancing the two worlds has been an integral part of my life growing up. My fashion brand, Cityzen by Azin, has allowed me to explore and connect with these two worlds.

As an Iranian American, a global traveler and a New Yorker, my international and multicultural experiences have culminated in the vision behind Cityzen: exposing the breathtaking views of the Earth, sharing our commonality, and bridging our differences.

Check out our Facebook page for photos of our Asian American Designer Showcase!


An Interview with Alex Tukelturk


Named after one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, Grand Bazaar is co-founded by Alexandra Tukelturk, whose jewelry line “Kader” offers the wearer a glimpse of Istanbul. Alex takes inspiration from the beauty and power of the Ottoman Empire, reinterpreting the magnificence of jewels and gemstones with her creative modern touch. Stunning jewels and semi-precious gemstones are set in sterling silver and oxidized brass for a stunning and elegant effect.

When and how did you realize that you have a talent in designing jewelries?

You know, I went to school for business management. However, I came from a house where my parents are extremely creative. Both my parents. My father was an artist from Colombia, and my mother’s a very creative woman so from them, I got that and I almost did not know that I have it until I started making little pieces of jewelries ten years ago. I got married to a Turkish man, and we started traveling to Turkey more often. Looking at all those beautiful jewelries in Turkey and knowing the stories behind them inspired me to start making jewelries and I’ve been doing it ever since.

Tell me about how your Turkish American background influenced and inspired your current collection at AsiaStore.  

When you think about Asia, Turkey is sitting in the middle of it. Say, if you go to Istanbul, half of it is in Asia, half of it is in Europe. In the Asian part of Istanbul, you’re gonna find a lot of history when Istanbul was Constantinople. The jewels from back then, from the Ottoman Empire, is what really inspires me to design. Obviously, I put my own twist in it, I put my own touch on the jewelries, and I follow the trends of the market. The jewelry industry is very dynamic today, it’s an industry that changes everyday, and you have to be aware of what’s happening everyday. So that’s what we do for the Asia Society designs.

What was your first piece of jewelry like? 

My first piece of jewelry was a ring. It was completely different from what you see today. It was more metal than stone, it was much more basic. You know, you evolve. With everything you do in your life, you acquire more experiences, and you become more trained in what you do. Things evolve and change, and what we’ve done today is the result of the evolution.

What is your design philosophy?

For me, three things are very important when I make a piece of jewelry. First, it has to be beautiful, obviously. It needs to be comfortable, but most of all, it has to be functional. You can have a gorgeous piece of jewelry but if it’s not functional, if you cannot wear it comfortably and feel like it’s part of your outfit, doesn’t say who you are or represents how you feel, then it’s not functional. For me that is the three keys in what I do.

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How do you go about creating a new piece? We’d love to know about your design process—choosing materials, design development, how the team works to do this…

It starts with a thought. Believe it or not, I design a lot when I travel. I travel extensively. When I spend so many hours sitting in an airplane, that’s when I start thinking what I want to do and I start drawing a lot. It starts with an idea and then it translates into a drawing. From that drawing, I sit down with my creative team in Turkey, and then we brainstorm about the piece. We decide what’s doable, what’s not doable, then it becomes a reality. We make it into a mould and from the mould, we actually test for functionality. We know how the metals stress, we know how the stones behave, we know absolutely everything about the piece before we put it in the market. So that’s what we do, we go through a lot of processes. Once a piece is done, and after we try it for a couple of weeks and make sure that it’s good, it’s beautiful and it works, we send it for production. It may take a couple of weeks. But sometimes when we make something more elaborate then it may take a couple of months. If it’s something that we’ve done before and we just want to add some new twist, then it’ll only take a couple of days.

What are your favorite materials to work with?

Stones. Natural stones. If you see something from Alex Tukelturk that has no stones, people might say “are you sure this is from her?” That’s kind of like my trademark.


What does it mean to you to have your designs sold at AsiaStore at the Asia Society and Museum?

It’s a privilege to be here. I feel blessed to be looked upon. So many people in this area are customers who are educated and they appreciate a piece of jewelry that has so much history behind it. So, it’s really a privilege for me to be here.

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Click here to shop Alex Tukelturk’s products!

Tranquil Tuesdays Tea Tasting at AsiaStore

Tranquil Tuesday’s Charlene Wang coordinates a tea tasting at Asia Society. Tranquil Tuesdays is a social enterprise, based in Beijing China. believeing that as the flavors and aromas of tea slowly reveal their inherent qualities as they st…eep, with the proper training, support and encouragement, women can reach their full potential enjoying work that showcases their innate talents.

The teas are sourced from family-owned tea gardens where tea is still hand-picked and processed. The handmade tea ware showcases talent from Jingdehen, the ancient porcelain capital of China, creating unique one-of-a-kind tea ware that enhances the tea drinking experience.tea tasting at the Asia Society last Friday.

Holiday Celebration at Asia Society December 7th 6-9pm

Experience a night of fun and culture with friends and colleagues. Join us for the festivities, including:

  •  Free museum tours at 6:30 and 7:30 of Bound Unbound: Lin Tianmiao
  •  Live Jazz music by A J Khaw (piano), Jean Caze (trumpet) and Jon Price (bass)
  • Tea tasting and artisan demonstrations
  • Holiday Leo Bar, including specially priced ‘Leotinis’
  • 20% discount at AsiaStore
  • Discounts on Membership

AsiaStore Event: Kundan Jewelry by Lalit Kumar

Feb 23-24th 12-4pm: KUNDAN JEWELRY Demonstration

Lalit, a master kundan jewelry maker, lives within the walled city of Old Delhi, once the bastion of the Mughal empire. The art of Kundan was widely acknowledged by Mughal emperors as they sought to design both jewelry and objects set with stones and engraved with names of the emperors for the court. Lalit’s trademark is to engrave beautiful flowers, leaves, birds and animals in the gold plate on the back of a pieces of jewelry

AsiaStore Designer Sample Sale and Summer Sale Event

Shop AsiaStore’s Summer Sale Event and Designer Sample Sale and save 20%-50% on select items including jewelry by Lotus Arts de Vivre, Kai Yin Lo, Grace Chan, Radhika Gupta, Zina Kao, Nina Ngyuen, Rosena Sammi, Mousumi Shaw, and Yoko Yano; scarves by Han Feng; silk blouses by Richard Tsao; quilted jackets by Rose Ajmera along with a fabulous selections of books, CDs and more! Hurry in for the best selection!!