Kuala Lumpur Asia Fashion Week- Vo Viet Chung – Vietnam










For the first time ever a Vietnamese fashion designer has been awarded the UNESCO insignia for his unmatched contributions to ao dai traditional dress.

Vietnamese fashion designer Vo Viet Chung received the insignia from the Viet Nam UNESCO Association last week.

Association general secretary Nguyen Xuan Thang said: “The UNESCO insignia is the way to recognise his contributions to the preservation of intangible cultural values in Viet Nam. He is the first designer to receive the honours.”

The 36-year-old designer has been a part of the fashion world for more than 10 years but has worked mainly with ao dai.

“Traditional material such as My A satin and Tan Chau silk give me a limitless inspiration. I’ve never felt bored with these; silk is a part of Vietnamese culture,” Chung said.

My A’ satin and Tan Chau silk, the main materials of his collections, come from a traditional silk village in his native southern province of An Giang. Mo Ve Chau A (Dream of Asia), Su Hoi Sinh (Restoration of Life) and Huyen (Black) are his current collections that have been presented in international fashion shows in Italy and Germany.

“I love the beauty of Vietnamese traditional culture. I’m sure I couldn’t do anything without my background,” Chung said.

Chung plans on bringing his My A satin creations to Shanghai Fashion Week next month.

Chung won the Excellent Designer prize at the Makuhari International Fashion Contest in Japan in 1997. — VNS

Ao Dai Project

July 7, 2006


Directors Statement:

Why make a documentary on the Ao Dai? It all started randomly with a great exhibition of the Ao Dai in San Jose (http://www.sjquiltmuseum.org/aoDai_exhibit.htm) at the Museum of Quilts and Textiles. At this event, I had the honor to meet people who loved Vietnamese culture and especially Ao Dai Designer Si Hoang who invited me to invited to film his Ao Dai’s.  I would also like to thank the people who put on this event as inspiration for this project.

I think the Ao Dai itself is very important because I think as a VietQ and being born in America, the younger generation sees lots of sad stories of war over and over and over again and we sometimes push anything Vietnamese away.(Vietnamese Opera anyone? No thanks. Paris by Night #295? We get it Linda Trang Dai and Tommy “NO!”) My goal is to learn the history of things that fascinate me such as the Ao Dai, and hopefully change the younger generation (my cynical self included) and our perceptions of the culture of Vietnam. The Ao Dai to me is a symbol of Vietnamese people: classy, unique, and beautiful. No wonder we are better than anyone else (I kid).

Through this documentary, I hope to learn about the culture of Vietnam as well as collect as many photographs as possible, from old black/white photographs, to Ralph Lauren Ao Dai inspired clothes. From stories to pictures, I think it should be documented. Plus I just like to collect things. I’ll open a random museum one day. Who knows.

I am looking for old photos of Ao Dai and people that can help me with the history of the Ao Dai.

My list of those to find information and basically the actual person or friends/families/historians who know this person:
1. Nguyen Cat Tuong
2. Madam Nhu
3. Air Vietnam Ao Dai designers
4. Ngo Viet Thu, Vo Thi Co (architects)
5. Nhi T. Lieu – Scholar
6. Doi Moi, 1986
7. Minh Hanh – designer
8. Bao Phu Nu – Magazine 1st beauty pageant
9. Truong Quynh Mai – best nation costumne
10. Le Si Hoang – designer ***( interviewed)
11. Le Minh Khoa
12. Le Phuong Thao – designer
13. Monica Thoa Tran – designer of trust fund baby
14. Thai Nguyen
15. Ngo Thaoi Uyen – designer
16. Huyen Trang – designer
17. Ngo Viet – collector
18. Nam Son – collector in Saigon
19. Ngan An – Hanoi designer
20. Thuy thuy Shop – Hoi An **(interviewed)
21. Chi shop – Hue **(interviewed)
22. Calvin Hiep – Designer, Paris by night (talked to for few minutes)
23. Mary To – Producer, Paris by night
24. ANY PHOTOGRAHS of dresses/designers who were influeced by the Ao Dai

2. If anyone knows of designers/celebrities in Vietnam or America I can interview who own Ao Dai’s or might have a story to tell, please let me know.

tuyte1 (photo curtesy of Tuyet)

Press Release

For Immediate Release


“The Ao Dai Documentary: Past, Present and Future” needs your help

(HCM, Vietnam) After going to an Ao Dai gallery at the Quilt and Textile Museum in San Jose, Donny Tran found his inspiration for his documentary. His goal was to make a mini documentary that showed the past, present and future of the history of the Ao Dai.

Who started the Ao Dai? How has it changed? What political significance does it have? Who wears them today? Will Viet Q’s continue the tradition?

Donny’s documentary takes him from San Jose, California to Saigon and Hue, Vietnam. He will continue his documentary by filming designers in Santa Ana and scholars around the world through email.

The documentary of the Ao Dai is an example of how beautiful the country of Vietnam is.

However, he still needs your help finding images, and historians of the Ao Dai, before the history is lost.

So he created a site: http://www.aodaiproject.com in hope that people can email him w/ information and pictures that he will post.

More information about Donny’s Ao Dai documentary, please go to http://www.aodaiproject.com

“The Ao Dai Documentary: Past, Present and Future” is produced and funded by Donny Tran. Those who would like to help sponsor this project please see below or feel free to email me at tran.donny@gmai.com

54844720-M (photo curtesy of Tuyet!)

14:38′ 06/07/2006 (GMT+7)

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VietNamNet – Vietnam’s leading fashion designer Minh Hanh has been honoured by the French Ministry of Culture and Information for her contributions to boosting France-Vietnam cooperation in the area of fashion.

The French Consul General, Nicolas Warbery, presented Dang Thi Minh Hanh with the title of “Arts and Literacy Knight” of the Minister of Culture and Information, Renaud Donedieu de Vabres, in Ho Chi Minh City on June 5.

Minh Hanh, Director of the Ho Chi Minh City-based Vietnam Fashion and Design Institute was the country’s first fashion stylist who has been granted this title.

The French Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City said that over the past years, Minh Hanh has acted as a bridge linking France and Vietnam in the fashion area. In 2001, she was invited to be a member of the jury of ESMOD International Fashion School. One year later, she organised a show, entitled “White Night,” in Paris” and the other, named “Far East,” in Nantes.

She has also been a partner of the French Embassy in Ha Noi and the French Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City in organising the Hue Festival, a symbol of bilateral cooperation in the cultural and arts field.


(Source: VNA)


Knight in shining fashion: Designer Minh Hanh (centre) poses with friends after receiving the title last night. — VNS Photo Thanh Vu

Vietnamese designer Minh Hanh was granted the title Knight of Arts and Letters (Chevaliers des Lettres et des Arts) by the French government for her contribution to promoting Franco-Vietnamese cultural co-operation in fashion.

Hanh was given the title by Consul General of France Nicolas Warnery in HCM City last night.

Hanh is a leading figure in Viet Nam’s fashion industry and is well-known for her successful combination of Vietnamese traditional fabrics with modern styles, which is present in her ever-changing ao dai designs. Her various collections have been introduced in many countries like Japan, Germany, France and the US. She became the first Vietnamese designer awarded an international prize at a Tokyo Fashion Fair in 1997.

As a director of the Vietnam Fashion Design Institute (Fadin), Hanh initiated Viet Nam Fashion Week – a rendezvous of professional designers, and Viet Nam Collection Grand Prix – a competition for young designers with an international jury, including examiners from the French Fashion Design Institute.

She soon became the bridge between Vietnamese and French fashion after helping boost fashion activities between the two countries through different programmes signed with the French Fashion Design Institute.

Vietnamese designers have won scholarships to France for further study in fashion while French lecturers of fashion have come to Viet Nam to provide training courses to 15 young talented Vietnamese designers.

In 2002, Hanh held two fashion shows dubbed White Night in Paris and Far East in Nantes after joining a two-month course for professional designers in Paris.

She was also invited to join the jury of ESMOD by Paris Cultural Department. As a key fashion partner of the French Consulate in HCM City, she collaborated with French directors and artists to direct Vietnamese and French programmes at Viet Nam’s Festival Hue.

Established in 1975 by French General de Gaulle, the title Knight of Arts and Letters is given to people with outstanding achievements or great contribution to the arts and literature to France and the world. — VNS

Vietnamese fashion no specialty
08:52′ 01/07/2006 (GMT+7)

VietNamNet – Many Vietnamese fashion designers have travelled abroad to compete with designers from other countries. Does this mean that new perspectives have been opened for the industry to join in the world community of fashion?

Many experts say it is still too early to turn ambition into reality, especially in the ‘current situation’ where Vietnamese fashion is the domain of infantile, unimaginative philistines 

Fashion design not applicable

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Vietnamese fashion designs in general are very monotonous

Recent achievements in the fashion industry include the coming of many new fashion designers. Besides the established names, several new names have cropped up on the scene, such as Huyen My, Thu Giang, Nhat Huy, and Xuan Thu.

Many of them have been abroad to compete with fashion designers from other countries, winning international awards. This has contributed to the hope of pushing up the country’s industry further in the process of joining the world fashion industry.

Vietnamese traditional Ao Dai has been stylised and shown at many international competitions held in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore and other Asian shows. The designers who reworked the trad cut have become well known in other countries, but only as purveyors of the same trite, inconvenient garment.

According to designer Sy Hoang, designs normally are just to impress people and help to contribute to brands. Applicable fashion is an area where professional design is a must. In this field, then consumer choice is the first priority.

Unfortunately applicable fashion in this country has not been of a level to obtain public confidence. “It might take the industry five or ten years to really be able to develop brands,” said Sy Hoang

Poor materials, monotonous designs

Designer Vo Viet Chung says that material is very important in fashion. It helps to make designs unique.

In Vietnam, only silk and brocade and a handful of other low quality materials are available, meaning, designers are hemmed in design terms. Several years ago, Vietnamese materials like silk, brocade and velvet impressed foreign customers, but rampant overproduction has lowered their quality.

Many young designers have had to use low quality material from small markets for their designs, a move that is pretty much professional suicide.

Sharing the same view with Chung, Sy Hoang complained that quality of Vietnamese silk is not as high as that of Thai silk. And in addition to problems with materials, the act of design has been paid little attention.

Vietnamese fashion designs in general are very monotonous. Many collections produced by seemingly different designers are all too similar. Most designers are also unsuccessful in developing their own brands.

Hoang said that usually, without seeing a designers name on a collection, it is quite difficult to tell the work of one from another.

Vietnamese people aren’t good at having their own ideas, and copying is rife among designers. Hoang used the example of designer Le Minh Khoa who was applauded for his collection of clothes made of lace. A short time later, a plethora of other designers were using lace in their designs.

“This is extremely unprofessional and sets back development of the fashion industry in Vietnam,” Hoang added.

(Source: NLD)

Tong Thi Kim Dinh (L)  

A Vietnamese woman has in the past 19 years worked hard to popularize the Vietnamese traditional dress ao dai in Japan, better known as the “Kingdom of Kimono.”

Born in 1961 in Vietnam’s former imperial capital of Hue, Tong Thi Kim Dinh left for Japan with her husband after graduating from the Hue University of Medicine in 1987.

While looking for work, Dinh attended a course on beautifying women in Tokyo and since then has nurtured her dream of making Japanese women even more beautiful with Vietnamese dress.

In 1997, Dinh opened Shop Vietnam in the Sumitomo Group’s 51-story building in the Shinuku center, one of the most bustling areas in Tokyo.

“At that time very few Japanese knew about Vietnam. Many gave a look of surprise at seeing my tiny shop there while some considered Vietnamese ao dai as an “odd fashion”,” Dinh recalled.

“At first I was sad, but determined to make ao dai popular among Japanese people.”

She later returned to the homeland, recruited skilled artisans and set up a workshop tailoring ao dai based on her own standards.

Dinh designed ao dai by herself, keeping in mind Japanese tastes for high quality fabric, design, colors and tailoring.

With customers wanting their orders in record time, Dinh had to devise measurements suitable to all Japanese women, and get them to come in for special fitting sessions to cut customer visits down to a minimum.

Great admiration

After a fashion show at the Vietnamese Music Festival in Tokyo in 2000, many newspapers and media agencies in Japan like NHK, TBS, Asahi, and Tokyo praised Dinh’s unique ao dai.

Ashi Karucha, an organization for Japanese women, last February invited Dinh to host a discussion specifically on Vietnamese ao dai.

Also in February last year, Shop Vietnam was invited to feature Vietnamese ao dai in the Asian Party Dress Fair, one of the large brand promotion programs by the Seibu Tokyo commercial center.

Now Shop Vietnam’s ao dai, known under the brand Sivini, are widely known in regions across Japan.

Japanese make up 90 percent of the shop’s clients while the remainders are Westerner tourists.

Japanese diva Anna Saeki is also one of Shop Vietnam’s regular clients. The famous singer has recently arrived in Ho Chi Minh City to film herself in the Vietnamese traditional dress ao dai for use in a campaign to make over her image next year.

She will use the pictures for a calendar and for the introduction of her new image in 2007, which marks 20 years of her career as a tango singer.

Source: Tuoi Tre – Translated by Thu Thuy