Phillip Lim

Honorary Degrees

California State University, Long Beach

Phillip Lim is one of the most successful independent designers in the United States. His story is the personification of the American Dream, a dream inspired and shared by his parents. He grew up in Orange County, California, watching his Chinese immigrant mother work as a seamstress in a garment factory. It inspired him to attend California State University, Long Beach and received his Bachelor of Arts in Family and Consumer Sciences: Fashion Merchandising.

Five years later, he made his way to Manhattan to start his own label and created 3.1 Phillip Lim. He is a pioneer in the fashion industry in terms of bringing a level of sophistication and a true integrity to design at the contemporary price point. 3.1 Phillip Lim was an immediate success and transformed into a global fashion powerhouse. Now he runs five women's lines, a men's line, a children's line, a swim line, a lingerie line, an accessories and footwear line, an eco-friendly and sustainability line and a Target line, all the while making luxury fashion accessible —and ethical.

Mr. Lim has garnered both critical and commercial success with his eponymous line. He also leverages his power and influence for the greater good as an activist and community organizer.  He is part of the cohort for One X One—a Slow Factory Foundation initiative that matches scientists and designers with an eye toward regenerative technologies, equitable production and circular economy models. It is an endeavor to combat the egregious amount of pollution generated each year by the fashion industry.

Mr. Lim recently refocused his energies toward advocacy and fundraising on behalf of the AAPI community, especially in the wake of hate crimes against Asian-Americans. In addition to regularly using his social media platforms to draw attention to racial justice issues, he organizes a series of online discussions that invites industry leaders to talk about collective actions to help combat racism.

In recognition of his stature and contributions to the fashion industry, his successful and influential business and civic accomplishments, his work toward a sustainable future, his selfless service to others particularly to the marginalized and underserved communities, for his passionate determination and efforts to help end racism, and for his advocacy and fundraising on behalf of the AAPI community, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State University, Long Beach are proud to confer upon Phillip Lim the honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Arts.