January 5, 2007
Vietnamese designers last year were more professional than ever, achieving recognition here and abroad for the quality and creativity of their designs.
One up-and-coming talent, Vo Viet Chung, rose to fame after restoring My A and Tan Chau satin cloth, two traditional Vietnamese materials made in the craft village Tan Chau in Dong Thap Province’s Hong Ngu District.
Chung used the quality satins, which have been popular for hundreds of years, to create elegant and eye-catching articles for his collections.
After spending years in Italy and Denmark to improve his skills in design, Chung says he is sure that he can take the lead in setting new trends in the local market. His designs are a combination of traditional Vietnamese and modern European styles.
Chung now owns two shops in HCM City, providing customers with ready-to-wear collections in a modern style with traditional materials.
Part of his success has been his encouragement of young people, particularly women, to wear Vietnamese-made products.
“My goal is to create styles for Vietnamese because the country’s fashion industry should be built from their demands,” said the 31-year-old designer, who refused several opportunities in Italy to work in his homeland.
Chung’s colleague, Ngo Thai Uyen, also prospered this year by issuing quality collections through her fashion company and shop in District 3.
“My clothes are expensive but people are willing to pay because they appreciate the concepts in my garments,” said Uyen, who aims to sell more of her clothing in 2007.
Several years ago, designers could barely survive on their own, but Uyen makes enough now to fund her own business.
Uyen began her fashion career when she joined the HCM City’s Fine Arts College. In 1999, she won a prize for promising designer at an international competition for young designers in Japan.
She has attended many fashion competitions and events at home and overseas, where she was received enthusiastically by critics and audiences.
“There is severe competition for us young designers. But I have my own niche,” said the 33-year-old mother of one.
More experienced than Chung and Uyen, veteran designers Si Hoang and Minh Hanh say they want to export their styles.
Hoang introduced his latest collection of ao dai (traditional Vietnamese dress), titled Ao dai: A modern design coming of age, at the San Jose (California) Museum of Quilts&Textiles in April and July.
Hoang’s new project is to build a 10-ha cultural centre from bamboo called the Ao Dai Theatre. “Ao dai is the country’s spirit. You can find sources of inspiration for movies, poetry and art,” he said.
For Minh Hanh, the country’s leading designer, 2006 was a good year as she was selected to create costumes for the leaders from the 21 APEC-member countries who visited Ha Noi in November.
Hanh was also granted the title Knight of Arts and Letters (Chevaliers des Lettres et des Arts) by the French government for contribution to promoting Franco-Vietnamese cultural co-operation in fashion.
Her new collections, Rong, Dong, and Xuan (Dragon, Spring, Fall), made from traditional materials, were introduced in France and other European countries last year to favourable reviews. — VNS