In the realm of fashion, Vietnam stands as a vibrant tapestry of tradition and innovation, where talented designers skillfully blend the essence of their rich cultural heritage with contemporary aesthetics. From the intricate patterns found in traditional art to the captivating fabrics and materials deeply rooted in the nation’s history, Vietnamese fashion designers have derived from a treasure trove of inspiration. It is not solely the patterns and fabrics that serve as wellsprings of inspiration, but also the timeless rituals that punctuate Vietnamese life. Each element is carefully curated and woven together to breathe life into dazzling designs, resulting in pieces that pay homage to the past while embracing the possibilities of the future. In this issue, Top 10 of Malaysia presents its selection, arranged here in no particular order, of Vietnam’s most creative fashion designers.
Tran Phuong My
A visionary in the world of Vietnamese fashion, Tran Phuong My is a designer who knows no bounds in her pursuit of excellence. Phuong My’s commitment to perfection is evident in every aspect of her fashion career, from design and production to client service. One of her distinctive strategies lies in her approach to fabric production, which she outsources to select partners in Paris, Milan, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. This allows her brand, Phuong My, to blend exclusive materials, giving it a unique edge in the market. As the Chief Designer of her eponymous brand, Phuong My’s creativity shines through her work, while her contributions to prestigious fashion magazines like Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, and VOGUE showcase her versatility.
Nguyen Cong Tri
Renowned as one of Vietnam’s leading designers, Nguyen Cong Tri’s journey in the fashion world began with his award-winning collection “Green Leaves.” A graduate of Ho Chi Minh City University of the Arts, he launched Kin Concept in 2011, catering to urban women with ready-to-wear designs. Evolving further, he founded The House of Nguyen Cong Tri, focused on avant-garde haute couture, featuring intricate hand-ironed pleating, interlacing, and sequin embellishments. His seventeen captivating collections, including the acclaimed “Em Hoa,” gained international attention, with stars like Rihanna and Katy Perry adorning his designs. Nguyen Cong Tri’s exceptional contributions earned him recognition from the Asian Couture Federation in 2014.
Linda Mai Phung
French designer Linda Mai Phung, residing in Ho Chi Minh City, draws inspiration from her global travels and Vietnamese heritage to create unique designs and prints. In a recent collection, “Shoot at the Moon,” she beautifully captured a traditional Vietnamese folktale about the moon’s origin. As an advocate for ethical fashion, Phung emphasises the use of locally sourced materials like organic cotton, naturally lacquered silk, and handwoven jacquard in her designs, promoting sustainable practices within the industry. Her creations blend cultural richness and contemporary aesthetics, reflecting her passion for both fashion and responsible craftsmanship.
Hanoi-born designer Thuy Nguyen’s passion for traditional art and Asian paintings influenced her journey in both fine arts and fashion. In 2011, she founded Thuy Design House, aiming to harmoniously blend art and fashion. Nguyen’s creations exude elegance with clean cuts, luxurious fabrics, and striking patterns. Notably, her designs feature Asian paintings on traditional Vietnamese silk brocades, and she artfully reimagines the iconic “ao dai,” Vietnam’s traditional dress. Beyond fashion, Nguyen is the founder of The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre in Ho Chi Minh City, reflecting her commitment to promoting art and creativity in Vietnam. Her remarkable work even caught the spotlight in the movie “Co Ba Saigon,” celebrating the artistry of ao dai tailors in pre-1975 Saigon.
Claret Giang Le
With an impressive entry into the fashion industry at a young age, Claret Giang Le’s designs strike the perfect balance between modernity and femininity. Being a contemporary of her clients, she empathises with the needs of women, and her creations reflect this understanding. Inspired by simple natural elements like flowers, colours, and women’s curves, she crafts unique looks that not only decorate but also elevate their lives. Claret loves to experiment; creating new techniques, mixing colours, and incorporating hand prints inspired by various artists and artworks. Pioneering the hand-painting trend in Vietnam, her designs exude creativity and unique ideas.
Devon Nguyen, known for her womenswear collections, showcases an innovative approach to fashion, drawing inspiration from her diverse cultural background. Raised in Poland, her artistic interest in fashion emerged early on. After graduating from studying fashion design at the London College of Fashion, she pursued her passion for textiles through studies in Printing and Textile Design at Central Saint Martins. Her collections embody a contemporary luxury that fuses fashion with art, utilising noble British fabrics and intricate hand embellishment techniques. Masculine yet feminine, her designs exude natural confidence and charm, empowering women through effortless silhouettes and sharp tailoring. Devon’s bold use of colours and youthful character imbue her creations with a touch of mischievousness and wildness.
Vu Thao, founder of Kilomet 109, pioneers eco-friendly fashion with her natural and sustainable clothing line. Her designs utilise unique materials like nuts, coal, stone, and wood for trims, while organic cotton and hemp serve as fabrics. Collaborating with ethnic minority women in Vietnam, the brand embraces traditional dyeing methods using natural sources like magenta plants and yams. Despite these traditional roots, Vu Thao’s creations exude modernity and sophistication. The versatile garments offer various styling options, featuring flexible panels, folds, hoods, detachable scarves, and pleats. With Kilomet 109, you can express your individual sense of style while embracing eco-conscious and innovative fashion choices.
Xuan Thu Nguyen
A celebrated Dutch-Vietnamese designer, Xuan Thu Nguyen boasts global recognition as a guest member of France’s Haute Couture Federation. Her collections have graced prestigious fashion capitals including Paris, New York, Milan, and Tokyo. Coming from a family with a rich heritage of craftsmanship, Nguyen studied at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute and established her atelier in Paris in 2001. Her creations showcase contemporary cuts embellished with exquisite handmade embroidery, evoking a poetic essence. Nguyen’s artistic vision sees fashion as more than just clothing; it becomes a captivating dialogue between art, clothing, and textile, weaving a unique narrative in each creation.
Lam Gia Khang
A rising star in Vietnamese fashion, Lam Gia Khang is a talented designer known for his modern and elegant creations. After graduating from The London College for Design and Fashion, he quickly made a mark on the Vietnamese fashion scene. His eponymous brand, established in 2014, showcases ready-to-wear collections that capture the essence of chic downtown girls. With a focus on modern feminine tailoring, Lam Gia Khang crafts his designs using high-end fabrics and skilled folding techniques. His impeccable creations have graced the covers of prestigious magazines like Elle Vietnam and Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam.
Ngo Thai Bao Loan
Sharing a similar professional background to Lam Gia Khang, Ngo Thai Bao Loan is a promising designer who also graduated from The London College for Design and Fashion. Her design philosophy embraces quirkiness, influenced by her interest in unisex clothing and architectural forms. Since 2013, she has been nurturing her independent boutique, NGOTHAIBAOLOAN, where she showcases her proficiency in pattern-making and folding. Known for her trademark 3D and asymmetric shapes, Loan creates timeless essentials that appeal to women with a penchant for menswear-inspired fashion. With a burgeoning career and a rising profile, Ngo Thai Bao Loan is one of the best emerging talents in the Vietnamese fashion industry.