Phillip Lim was born in Thailand in 1973 to Chinese immigrant parents who later fled to Southern California to escape Cambodia’s civil war, where his mother found work as a seamstress and his father became a professional poker player. While his mother clearly had an early influence on his ethos, Lim didn’t fantasize of being a designer. Instead he studied finance for three years at California State University of Long Beach, but soon found himself switching to a degree in home economics.
Phillip debuted his eponymous brand, 3.1 Phillip Lim, in the fall of 2005, with business partner and friend, Wen Zhou, bucking the ostentatious runway trends of the time. His line of youthfully elegant wardrobe classics with a twist, was an instant sensation and adored by critics, fashion editors and customers alike. Widespread recognition of Lim’s talent and accolades quickly followed, including the 2006 Fashion Group International Women’s Designer ‘Rising Star’ Award, the 2007 CFDA Swarovski Award in Womenswear, the 2012 CFDA Swarovski Award in Menswear, and the 2013 CFDA Award for Accessories Designer of the Year.
After nearly fifteen years in business, Phillip as creative director and co-founder of 3.1 Phillip Lim, finds himself at the helm of a pioneering modern luxury brand, designing women’s, men’s, accessories, and footwear – making him one of the most talented and successful young designers today.