Tracey Asai earned her bachelors degree in Product Design from The College of Design at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. Shortly after graduating, she moved to New York City. Within a week of her arrival, Tracey landed her first assistant design job for a knitwear company, RRJ Industries. Ironically, knitwear was the only textile course she did not take at school. She learned everything technical about knits on the job, but quickly realized the value of her design fundamentals education, a foundation that would one day have her running her own business. Tracey lives and works on the Upper West Side in Manhattan.
Over the next few years, Tracey’s design experience included women's dresses, outerwear, prints, and eveningwear. After four years working in New York's Garment District, she began her own private label freelance business designing one-of-a-kind pieces for dancers, actresses, writers and other creative types. She often used their work as her source of inspiration. Grammy winning jazz vocalist, Cassandra Wilson, was among her notable clientele. Tracey designed for three of Ms. Wilson’s tours, including performances at Avery Fisher Hall, Carnegie Hall, and Town Hall, as well as Ms. Wilson's Grammy dress. She received additional press in Jazz-iz magazine for a concept she pitched to Blue Note Records which was used for the cover of the "Traveling Miles" CD package.
In the early part of 2000, Tracey was accepted into the Accessory Design program at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC. She was enrolled part-time while working for Peter Fox Shoes flagship store in Soho. After two Footwear Design & Pattern Making classes and armed with a new footwear portfolio, the Dean of the Accessory program exclaimed " You should just quit school and start your own business already"! For the time being, Tracey set out to seek work as a hired hand instead. Soon she realized most of the opportunities would have her traveling overseas to China more than 6 months out of the year. This was not a desirable option to her. In 2004. Tracey founded Tracey Asai Designs, LLC and has been in domestic production and entrepreneurial bliss ever since.
Tracey's one-woman exhibitions have included a rainwear show of fanciful silk laminated raincoats and two hand painted shoe shows, showcasing her painted designs on the beautiful silk satin shoes of Peter Fox. She has been recognized for her work in magazines, newspapers, wedding blogs, and other wedding websites. Her business continues to grow, selling her wedding flip-flops, wedges and accesories to every state in the USA as well as a growing list of countries abroad such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, France, Ireland, New Zealand, Germany and The Netherlands. The very first shoe Tracey designed is a tribute to her days working as a bartender to make ends meet. These innovative creations, called the "Martini Mules", were featured in Shuz Magazine and later purchased by the Shoes Icon Museum in Moscow Russia.