Fashion designers turn lemons into lemonade during Covid-19 response

By Van An   May 24, 2020 | 12:20 am PT
Fashion designers in Vietnam have turned to the coronavirus crisis for inspiration as they adopt new business modes.

Covid-19 has negatively affected many aspects of life, the Vietnamese fashion industry being no exception. With many Spring-Summer shows cancelled, fashion designers have done their best to adapt.

Chung Thanh Phong’s latest "Save Yourself" collection features masks and hand sanitizer, inspired by common protective gear. Prices range from VND780,000 ($34) for a shirt, VND1.8 million ($77) for a jumpsuit, and VND55,000-150,000 ($2.4-6.5) for a mask or bottle of sanitizer.

Colorful outfit in the new collection of leading designer Cong Tri. Photo by Vinh Luu.

Color is central to the new collection of leading designer Cong Tri. Photo by Vinh Luu.

Lien Huong, in turn, has combined bespoke masks with traditional ao dai, spreading a positive message amid the Covid-19 crisis.

Delaying his Spring-Summer collection, designer Do Long decided to produce hand sanitizer for adults and children. 

"This product does not bring a lot of profit; the more important thing is that I create jobs for my employees," Long said, adding he was surprised after selling 10,000 bottles in two months. 

Instead of prom dresses, ready to wear outfits have become Le Thanh Hoa’s new focus.

Chung Thanh Phong is the first Vietnamese designer to live-stream-release his new collection. 

Online platforms are also the mainstay of designer Do Long.

"While selling hand sanitizer, I interacted with many fans online, attracting new customers in the process," Long commented.

Actress Diem My wears a new dress designed by Do Manh Cuong. Photo by Huy Nguyen.

Actress Diem My wears a new dress designed by Do Manh Cuong. Photo by Huy Nguyen.

Designer Le Thanh Hoa consulted patrons via phone to nurture inspiration, while Lam Gia Khang sent out gift boxes, including his new collection look book.

Right after the social distancing campaign ease, Do Long invited actress Ninh Duong Lan Ngoc to model his new designs.

Leading designer Do Manh Cuong opted to introduce new creations at more affordable prices (around $172- 215) amid the economic downturn, aiming to open more stores nationwide to serve the middle class.

Designer Adrian Anh Tuan will introduce his summer collection in June, though it is unclear whether the event will involve a small in-store party or outdoor show. 

"My Resort 2020 collection is popular because the designs are summery. In this difficult period, I will renovate my store and recruit more employees," Tuan stated.

Lam Gia Khang, who focuses on international buyers, has sold many designs from his new collection since March.

According to designer Le Thanh Hoa, after the pandemic, buyers will focus more on quality and value instead of quantity. 

"They will be more considerate. Maybe demand will increase too as more events and parties are held," Hoa maintained

Internationally, fashion houses like Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Chanel have had to adapt their campaigns due to the raging pandemic. At Milan Fashion Week, for instance, Giorgio Armani organized a show with no audience. 

In China, Shanghai Fashion Week cooperated with e-commerce platform Alibaba to help fashion designers introduce their autumn collection online. 

LVMH Group, owner of Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton, used their perfume factories to produce hand sanitizer, while Gucci, Prada, Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent have produced thousands of masks and protective clothing.

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