EXCLUSIVE: In their first-ever professional collaboration, top Asian-American fashion designers Prabal Gurung and Phillip Lim have joined the creative team for the upcoming Disney+ series American Born Chinese. The duo will work together with American Born Chinese costume designer Joy Cretton to design costumes for culturally significant characters from Chinese mythology and classic literature portrayed in the series by stars Michelle Yeoh and Daniel Wu.
Based on the graphic novel by Gene Luen Yang, American Born Chinese tells the story of Jin Wang, an average teenager juggling his high school social life with his home life. When he meets a new foreign student on the first day of the school year, even more worlds collide as Jin is unwittingly entangled in a battle of Chinese mythological gods. The genre-hopping action-comedy explores identity, culture, and family.
“Prabal and Phillip are both incredibly talented artists who have made their mark in the fashion world, and we are delighted and honored that they were willing to join our creative team at American Born Chinese,” said executive producer Melvin Mar. “We are very proud of this unique series and its thoughtful portrayal of the Chinese-American experience, and we continue to seek partnerships with prolific Asian-American talent both in front of and behind the camera.”
The series stars Yeoh as Guanyin, Ben Wang as Jin Wang, Yeo Yann Yann as Christine Wang, Chin Han as Simon Wang, Daniel Wu as Sun Wukong, Ke Huy Quan as Freddy Wong, Jim Liu as Wei-Chen and Sydney Taylor as Amelia.
Written and executive produced by Bob’s Burgers exec producer Kelvin Yu and his brother, Charles Yu (Westworld), the series is executive produced by Mar, Jake Kasdan (Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.). Asher Goldstein (Just Mercy), Erin O’Malley (Doogie Kamealoha, M.D), Destin Daniel Cretton (Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) and Gene Luen Yang are also executive producers. Kelvin Yu also serves as showrunner.
Produced by 20th Television for Disney Branded Television, American Born Chinese is currently in production in Los Angeles.
Gurung was born in Singapore and raised in Kathmandu, Nepal. After beginning his design career in New Delhi, he moved to New York to finish his studies at Parsons The New School for Design. Upon graduating, Gurung spent two years with Cynthia Rowley’s design and production teams. Soon after, he was appointed design director at Bill Blass, a post he held for five years until launching his own collection, Prabal Gurung. With a focus on quality and innovation, Gurung’s designs have been worn by First Lady Michelle Obama and The Duchess of Cambridge, to name a few. Notable accolades include the 2010 Ecco Domani Fashion Fund Award, 2010 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund runner up, USA Network’s
Character Approved Award recipient in 2011, named goodwill ambassador of Maiti Nepal, a finalist of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award, recipient of the 2011 CFDA Swarovski Award for Womenswear and was honored in 2015 with the inaugural Creativity Award from The Drawing Center.
Lim was born to Chinese parents who immigrated to Southern California. He studied finance at California State University Long Beach, but after three 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 in over 12 countries globally. Lim is the recipient of several 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.