From Lunchbox to Runway: Fashion Brand Celebrates Asian Culture with Food-Inspired Designs

From Lunchbox to Runway: Fashion Brand Celebrates Asian Culture with Food-Inspired Designs

Food has the power to connect us to our cultural roots and empower our sense of identity. That’s the idea behind Lunchbox, a company using creative designs to celebrate Asian food culture. In this piece, writer Emily Fata, marketing strategist at Statement Worldwide, takes us behind the scenes of Lunchbox, examining how Lunchbox founder Jacky Lam turned his inspiration into a movement of cultural empowerment through creative products. We learn the genesis of Lunchbox’s mission, how the brand empowers people through its products and designs, the role of food in reconnecting with cultural heritage, and testimonials showing Lunchbox’s real impact. The article provides insight into how Lunchbox contributes to broader cultural dialogues while looking toward the future of the company and its goal of using food and identity to empower people globally.


Lunchbox redefines the connection between food, identity, and empowerment in the dynamic world of cultural celebration and empowerment. Lunchbox, a company founded on the idea that food can be a catalyst for empowerment, takes us on an engrossing journey of celebration and self-discovery. In this piece, we go behind the scenes at Lunchbox, examining the founder Jacky Lam‘s original idea and how it developed into a movement.

The Genesis of Lunchbox

For Jacky Lam, the concept for Lunchbox went beyond simple business acumen; it was inspired by the realization that food has the capacity to empower people and celebrate cultural identity. “Food, especially in Asian cultures, is more than just sustenance. Food is a central part of the cultural identity, a shared experience that bonds communities and families, a way to demonstrate care and love for others,” he said in an interview with us. “For many Asian immigrants growing up in North America, however, our food often became a point of misunderstanding and ridicule during their school years. These experiences, while sometimes difficult to look back onto, also became a source of strength and identity as we grew older.”

Lunchbox was created as a platform to support this expression because it was founded on the idea that food is more than just a source of nutrition. The brand’s designs aren’t just about showcasing the “fun and playful side” of Asian culture, but rather, it’s about reclaiming and celebrating the continent’s unique cultural elements that, for Lam and other Asian Canadians, were once a source of embarrassment.

Wearing Lunchbox’s clothing could be a bold statement about one embracing one’s heritage and an act of self-empowerment and pride. However, it can also be worn by folks without an Asian background, simply because they enjoy good food and fun designs!

The Transformative Power of Food

Jacky shares a personal story that inspired Lunchbox in order to illustrate the transformative power of food. He remembers being made fun of by kids in his classroom for the traditional foods that his parents packed in his lunchbox. While he asked for more ‘Canadian’ foods at the time, he has since come to recognize the necessity of changing his perspectives. In addition to providing sustenance, food had the capacity to be a potent tool for empowerment and a way for people to proudly display their cultural identities.

This even trickled into how he viewed the world of fashion. Jacky explained, “I started working on Lunchbox because I noticed while underwear brands at large retailers generally have generic fun prints like tacos, donuts, and pizza, they really lack representation for Asian-inspired design. Sure, you’ll find [the occasional] sushi design if you look hard enough, but what about all the other amazing elements that make our different Asian cultures unique?”

Empowering Through Products

Fundamentally, Lunchbox is a company that uses a wide range of products to empower people. Every item, from finely crafted lunchboxes to utensils with cultural inspiration, is a monument to the celebration of identity.

Jacky noted how “Lunchbox sets itself apart from the rest, and stands out with the range of designs unique from the market that creates representation for Asians. From the well-loved bubble tea to the [delicious] durian, to the iconic rice cooker that is to be found in virtually every single Asian household, each design has an interesting story behind it, and it sparks conversations. The uniqueness of the designs helps to broaden people’s perceptions and appreciation of the different Asian cultures and celebrate the food that we all love.”

Lunchbox wants to encourage pride and individuality in each meal by giving users the tools they need to confidently express their cultural heritage. The goal of incorporating Asian cultural designs into Lunchbox products is to promote confidence and pride rather than just aesthetics.

Reconnecting to Cultural Roots—Beyond Sushi

“The apparel industry often falls back on cliched or oversimplified representations of cultures—when it comes to Asian cultures, sushi tends to be the de-facto catch-all design. Lunchbox’s approach challenges these stereotypes by showcasing a broader spectrum of Asian cultures and creating representations of them.”

A key theme of Lunchbox is the role that food plays in helping people rediscover their cultural heritage. Jacky highlights the significant influence this reunion has on generations of immigrants.

“Food is often at the heart of cultural practices, traditions, and celebrations,” Jacky told us fondly. “Think about the recipe that’s passed down generations ago and dishes that are signatory to a particular region or country. Food also brings comfort and a sense of nostalgia, especially for ones like us who immigrated from a different country during their teenage years or into adulthood. Food is also a way of building and strengthening bonds; Asian parents from our generations and before are notoriously thrifty with their words to show affection and care, but often, it is demonstrated by the food they prepare to care for their loved ones.”

Navigating Challenges

There are a number of difficulties in promoting the notion that food can empower. When considering the early challenges Lunchbox has encountered, Jacky was proud to tell us that despite the fact that the brand is still in its early stages of growth, he is fortunate enough that the feedback he has received from customers is nothing but overwhelmingly positive words of encouragement.

“The main challenge right now is [expanding our] capacity to design and produce a variety of products that represents an even broader spectrum of the Asian demographic,” he said, “with the limited resources we have access to.”

Contributing to a Cultural Conversation

“The great thing about food is that everyone can enjoy it.” Jacky is upbeat about Lunchbox’s place in a larger cultural dialogue concerning empowerment, diversity, and identity. After all, it’s not just intended for wearers of an Asian background; Lunchbox’s products are for everyone. 

“For non-Asians,” he continued, “the food-themed designs are fun, comfortable pieces of everyday clothing. They showcase some of the tasty treats our Asian cultures have to offer to anyone interested. For Asians, the same designs carry an additional layer of cultural pride. In that sense, our products and designs are never exclusionary, but rather welcoming to everyone.”

Stories of Empowerment

The user testimonials and stories are the best way to show the real impact of Lunchbox. Jacky talks about people who used the brand’s products and saw a positive change in their sense of empowerment. They have received sincere messages from users who, by wearing a brand that spoke to their cultural heritage, felt a renewed sense of pride and confidence. These tales strengthen our resolve to use cultural celebration to empower people.

One of these testimonials was the following:

“The designs on these undies bring a smile to my face! I love how I can represent Asian culture at all times and showcase just some of the things that make it great. It’s food! The quality of these underwear is also quite good. They don’t bunch up or roll, which can be incredibly annoying. The elastics and the fabric feel very premium. The story about the brand really resonates with me, as well. Having grown up being one of the few Asian kids in my class, I know the feeling of having to explain to people why I looked different, why my food smell[ed] different, why my grandmother didn’t speak English, etc. Now in my adult years, I live the Lunchbox motto of being unapologetically Asian.”

The Future of Lunchbox

As the company’s creator, Jacky Lam sees a time when Lunchbox will carry on with its goal of empowering people via the celebration of cultural identity. Our goal is to increase the variety of products we offer by working with designers and artists to present our audience with more varied cultural narratives. Lunchbox is a movement as well as a brand, and he sees it developing into a global emblem of empowerment.

While the company is currently focused on boxer briefs and socks with Asian cultural designs, it will be expanding Lunchbox’s product range to include a more diverse range of products, thus enabling a broader expression of cultural motifs and the ability to cater to a wider audience. They also are actively seeking out collaborations with cultural ambassadors, desiring to partner with individuals from various backgrounds who can help in authentically representing different cultures under the ‘Asian umbrella’ and beyond.

“Lunchbox could explore incorporating designs from other cultures around the world, too,” Jacky predicted of his company’s future. “This expansion would not only celebrate a wider array of cultural identities, but also foster a global understanding and appreciation of diversity.”

Within the Lunchbox universe, the lunchbox transforms from a food container to a tool for cultural celebration and self-empowerment. Under Jacky Lam’s inspiring direction, Lunchbox has established itself at the nexus not just of fashion, but also of empowerment, diversity, and identity. Lunchbox invites us to enjoy the tastes of our heritage in tandem with the empowerment that comes with confidently expressing who we are as we embrace the transformative power of food.

Emily Fata of Statement Worldwide is a marketing strategist, PR consultant, project manager, and copywriter. Emily specializes in targeted marketing and grassroots promotions for technology, entertainment, and lifestyle clients across the globe. She has led PR initiatives for DreamWorks Animation, Kids Can Press, Dresscode Project, and others. Emily led copywriting campaigns for companies such as Sportsheets International, Visit Buffalo-Niagara, The Tourism Board of Helsinki (#MyHelsinki), and Starting Business, among others. Emily has worked in the field of entertainment, honing her skills and expressing her innovation and originality as a marketer and copywriter with many different companies from across the globe, as well as in photography, videography, photo and video editing, social media management, various forms of writing and blogging, executing nation-wide initiatives, and any other creative venture that is presented.

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