Chriselle Lim gets candid about diversity in the fashion industry

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Street Style - Day 3 - New York Fashion Week: Women's Fall/Winter 2016

Diversity -- especially in the fashion industry -- has been a hot topic over the past decade. With the added media spotlight and continual conversations centered around inclusivity, there has been a big rise in showcasing more women of different backgrounds. Just last week, Ashley Graham made history on the cover of Sports Illustrated. And even in the coming days at NYFW, shows are pushing the boundaries for what it means to be a real woman in this day and age.

It's an incredible step in the right direction. But of course, nothing in the industry can change were it not for the help of trailblazers who led the way. That's where Chriselle Lim comes into play. When she started her viral YouTube channel almost six years ago, she was one of the very few Asian American social media stars or tastemakers in the fashion realm. Since then, Chriselle has been the face of major ad campaigns, been named one of the most influential fashion Instagrammers ever, and more importantly, has been a role model to her almost two million social followers.

So it's no surprise that when we sat down with Chriselle, we picked her brain on the diversity of the fashion industry and how she views her sense of style as a form of empowerment. Check out the full interview, below!

And if you want even more Chriselle Lim exclusives, check out the AOL Lifestyle Instagram, where she'll be posting her insider Fashion Week photos all day.​



A lot of your YouTube content tends to focus around empowerment. How do you view fashion as a form of empowerment?
I think fashion is a language first and foremost. It's a way for you to communicate yourself to anyone you see, and you can speak a certain language to people. It's also a way to express who you are at the moment or who you want to become. I always tell people when I first started six years ago, I wasn't successful yet. I was still a broke college student -- but in my mind I was already successful. I already knew I was going to do something big, so I dressed the part, I acted the part, and I even got business cards printed out that said I was the Founder of Chriselle Inc. There was no employees at the time, just me. But in my mind, Chriselle Inc. was something important to me back then. And now that I'm living my dream, it's not a surprise to me that this all happened, because I was mentally prepared for it all. I think that's a big result from dressing the part and acting the part.



Being one of the few minorities who have really dominated the fashion blogger space, how do you view diversity in the blogging and fashion industries?
I think in terms of fashion, people are becoming more and more open about diversity, especially for people of color. It's funny, I just I had this conversation with one of my filmmaker friends about this exact topic this morning. It's almost identical in film because Asian actors in film are very hard to come across. I think with fashion it is a little bit different because there are designers that are now making it so big. The biggest designers are now Asian-Americans like Phillip Lim, Vera Wang, Thakoon, Jason Wu, and Derek Lam. Within the past five years, there's been a huge rise in, specifically, Asian American culture. I think that's really bleeding into the whole influencer factor as well. There's still not that many, but I think people are more aware of our talents and what we're able to do and accomplish. I think things are changing, but again, everything takes time. Hopefully we'll see more people of color doing big things in this space soon.

YouShouldKnow is a feature that showcases up-and-coming social stars. To see more of past interviews, click here. And come back at 6 pm EST for more exclusive Chriselle Lim features, including her take on diversity in the fashion industry.

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