Debuted at New York Fashion Week in 2005, 3.1 Phillip Lim was born from a friendship between founders, Phillip Lim and Wen Zhou. Both 31 years of age at its inception, the designer and entrepreneur were pioneers in the accessible luxury space, with the goal of bringing an innovative, elevated, and chic wardrobe to the modern global citizen. The brand has since expanded to include womenswear, menswear, accessories and footwear, with stores in New York, Hawaii, China, Japan, South Korea and clientele in over 12 countries.
The brand has built a strong community of like-minded global citizens, those who are mindful of their consumption, confident in their voice and live authentically with intention, gratitude, and kindness. Throughout its 17-year history, the brand has continued to evolve its positioning in the ever-changing fashion landscape to continue paving the way as a resilient, independent, competitive leader in American and Global fashion. With Community and Sustainability, at the forefront of the brand’s every move, 3.1 Phillip Lim continues to build alliances and a platform that brings together fashion, art, community and culture together in a meaningful, sustainable way.
As Creative Director and Co-Founder of his eponymous label, Phillip Lim sits at the helm of the pioneering modern luxury brand, 3.1 Phillip Lim.
Lim was born in 1973 to Chinese parents who immigrated to Southern California, where his mother found work as a seamstress and his father became a professional poker player. Lim studied finance at California State University Long Beach, but after 3 years, switched his focus to a degree in home economics.
A weekend job at Barneys South Coast Plaza led to an internship with Katayone Adeli, and eventually, a position on her design team. When Adeli relocated to New York, Lim remained in Los Angeles and co-founded his first label, Development. After four years at Development, Lim relocated to New York to launch 3.1 Phillip Lim, with business partner and friend, Wen Zhou. The brand is now in its 17th year and remains classic New York City in style; serving the modern global citizen in over 12 countries globally.
Lim is recognized as one of the most talented and successful American designers. He is the recipient of several prestigious industry honors including the Fashion Group International's Women’s Designer ‘Rising Star’ Award, the CFDA Swarovski Award for Womenswear, the CFDA Swarovski Award for Menswear, and the CFDA Award for Accessories Designer of the Year.
Beyond the label, Lim has become a leader, author, entrepreneur, and recognized community advocate. In 2021, he led the #STOPASIANHATE movement, co-founding a GoFundMe initiative that has raised almost $7 million. Funds have aided and given resources to victims of hate crimes, various grassroot organizations, and affected AAPI and minority communities.
He was recognized for his efforts at the 2021 Footwear News Awards, receiving the FNAA Award for Social Impact. The award honored his dedication to the #STOPASIANHATE movement and his continued commitment to speak up against injustices towards AAPI and minority communities. Lim continues to speak out against social justice issues and was recently selected to be a global ambassador for the United
Nations’ Fight Racism 2022 campaign.
Lim is also an advocate for Apex for Youth, an organization dedicated to providing opportunities to underserved Asian and immigrant youth communities in New York City. He maintains an ongoing partnership with Children in Conflict, a non-profit organization whose mission is to protect, educate and support the rights of children affected by global conflict.
Phillip also founded More Than Our Bellies in 2018; a community of likeminded individuals who recognize the value of firsthand experience and know that doing anything that brings joy is the ultimate food for the soul. He released a digital edition of his cookbook, More Than Our Bellies, through which all proceeds were donated to City Harvest to combat food insecurity amongst New Yorkers.
Amid the pandemic in 2020, Lim and friend Ruba Abu-Nimah, both stuck it out in the city and wanted to find a way to give back to the underserved NYC communities around them. They launched “New York Tougher than Ever”, an initiative to be able to give back in an authentic way, and the impact has been quite significant. They started designing limited-edition merchandise to raise funds for local organizations and disaster relief efforts. Each capsule serves a cause such as Thrive Collective, Immigrant Justice Corps and organizations to support New York’s homeless community, Palestinian refugees and the Lebanese Red Cross following the Beirut blast.
Lim continued growing his personal projects in 2021, launching the “House of Slay” alongside his close friends and “Slaysians” crew Prabal Gurung, Tina Leung, Ezra Williams and Laura Kim. The House of Slay is establishing a community that serves as a safe, inclusive space for underrepresented voices from all walks of life. They’ve all taken on a superhero persona in a digital comic book series that drops weekly on Tapas. They continue to amplify the voices of those who haven’t always had the space to speak up. House of Slay represents that everyone
can create their own magic, they can choose to become their own superhero.
Wen Zhou serves as President and CEO of 3.1 Phillip Lim, the company she co-founded with Phillip Lim in 2005. In less than five years, the indie label grew to global force status and today remains a beacon of innovative fashion and a harbinger for positive change. Zhou spent her childhood in Ningbo, China, and arrived in New York City at 12, settling with her family in Chinatown. She spoke no English but possessed an indomitable spirit, a love of fashion, and an entrepreneurial drive to succeed, all of which informed her future success as a business leader and entrepreneur.
By age 26, she founded two companies; one a fabric-selling import/export business and another an offshore clothing production house. Later, through a fateful meeting in Paris, Zhou met Phillip Lim, who was himself prepared for his next design adventure. The two formed a partnership and, in the Fall of 2005, launched 3.1 Phillip Lim. They were both 31 years old at the time.
After 18 years, their partnership remains among American fashion’s most fruitful and successful. The company’s vision to create an elevated and chic wardrobe for today’s global citizen has become synonymous with understated modern luxury. The brand’s and founders’ core values are reflected in all aspects of the business, including a commitment to social causes, community, and sustainability.
As President and CEO, Zhou has grown 3.1 Phillip Lim into an international fashion brand offering womenswear, menswear, footwear, and accessories. Recognized for her leadership and business acumen, Zhou regularly appears in such publications as The Business of Fashion, WWD, Forbes, and Vogue. She was recently named one of the “Top 60 Most Influential Chinese-Americans” by Forbes China, acknowledging her as an iconic leader and business owner globally.
She juggles the role of CEO, business partner, and friend with her most important job – being a mother to her two children, Ming and Zen.