Skip to main content

Celebrating Asian Pacific Islander South Asian American Heritage Month

Dear Wilson College Community,

Welcome to Asian Pacific Islander South Asian American Heritage (APISAA) Month! 

Congress first made a public law declaring May Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in 1992, according to NPR. It’s a time to learn about and celebrate the contributions made by Americans from Asia as well as from the Pacific islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia.

We invite you to learn about just a few of the ways APISAA heritage enriches our Wilson College community, as well as ways you can seek community and support on NC State’s campus. 

Bringing South-Asian Fashion to the Fashion Mainstream

Wilson College of Textiles senior Ritika Shamdasani and her older sister, Niki were named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for 2023. The siblings co-founded Sani, a South Asian-inspired formalwear and loungewear brand. 

A photo of Ritika and Niki Shamdasani. Ritika stands with her hand on the shoulder of Niki, who is sitting to the right of her. Both are looking at each other and smiling. They are in a bright, white walled room with a green plant behind them. A mirror is behind Niki. Ritika wears a green and pink floral blazer. Niki wears a tangerine orange blazer.

Wilson College Collections Inspired by APISAA Heritage

Model stands on a runway and is visible from the waste up. They wear a "crown" of greenery on their head and a green linen crop top and shorts matching "set." On top of that, they wear a sheer shawl embellished with white flowers.

“Taro:” Lauren Elson (B.S. FTD ’23)

“My collection, Taro, is a celebration of the interconnectedness and sacredness of Hawaiian heritage. Each piece is a representation of all things that make up the island and how they are all connected to one another and are each other’s “roots” as well as my roots (Hawaiian Heritage).

The lava, which shapes the island’s foundation, is represented through strong lines and bold color. The ocean, which sustains and connects us, is mirrored in the fluidity and movement of each piece. The trees and soil, which provide nourishment and stability for growth, are embodied through organic shapes and earthy tones. The yellow hibiscus, a symbol of delicate beauty and resilience, is reflected in the intricate details, delicate color, and shape. The sand and coral, which create the boundaries and beauty of the shoreline, are represented through smooth textures and soft hues. Lastly, the tropical rainforests, a lush and vibrant ecosystem, are captured through movement within my design.

Through Taro, I am aiming to honor Hawaiian culture and its connection to land and sea, as well as my “roots” (heritage).”

FTD Emerging Designer runway show

“Optic Bursts:” Sarah Jarrell (B.S. FTD ’22)

“I am kind of trying to market towards the rave culture, which is really big within the Asian culture and Asian-American culture. A lot of my friends go to raves. But a lot of rave clothing tends to show a lot of skin, so I designed my collection for people who maybe don’t want to wear something as revealing, but still want to wear something fun, unique and flashy.”

“Radha:” Saajana Bhakta (B.S. FTM ’22)

Bhakta’s collection celebrates her South-Asian heritage and the way she best identifies with it.

“I grew up in a first-generation immigrant household in a primarily white community,” the Asheville native says. “So I felt a little out of touch with my culture, but the one thing that I felt most connected to was the clothing, and I want to be able to bring that kind of clothing into the Western world.”

That inspiration translated into embroidery, sparkles, jewel tones, flowing fabrics and asymmetrical silhouettes. 

APISAA History is NC State History

The history of the APISAA community at NC State begins in 1898 and is vital the university’s progress.

Diversity Propels the Wilson College of Textiles and the North Carolina Textile Foundation

Diversity and inclusivity are interwoven into the core values that inform the work of the Wilson College of Textiles and the North Carolina Textile Foundation (NCTF), which serves as the college’s philanthropic arm.

The NCTF makes the college’s groundbreaking, industry-leading work possible. That exceptional work includes supporting change agents, glass ceiling breakers and equity seekers in a variety of ways. With the foundation’s financial backing and extensive network of connections, our college’s students, staff and alumni, including members of the Dean’s Young Alumni Leadership Council, can continue to further their understanding and celebration of diversity and inclusion.  

Donate to the Textiles Diversity and Inclusion Fund

Find resources and community

APISAA Heritage Month is the perfect chance to learn and connect. A variety of student organizations and programs are available on campus.