Vietnamese designers thrive on global stage

By Y Ly   January 22, 2023 | 03:16 pm PT
A growing number of international celebrities and VIPs have been spotted wearing Vietnamese fashion lines, a testament to the industry's rapid growth.

American actress Nicola Peltz, wife of Brooklyn Beckham, stole the show when wearing a sheer black outfit called "The Obsession Dress" by designer Tran Khanh Duy's clothing line Fanci Club for her 28th birthday party in Hollywood earlier this month.

American model Hailey Bieber, wife of global pop star Justin Bieber, also wore a nearly identical garment a few days prior.

Miss Dominican Republic Andreína Martínez, who finished as 2nd runner-up at Miss Universe 2022, wore a gown by Nguyen Minh Tuan during the beauty pageant's rehearsal on January 13.

Vietnam's fashion scene has had a breakout on the global stage in recent years.

Numerous Hollywood stars, including Zendaya, Kerry Washington, Camila Cabello, Tracee Ellis Ross, Joey King, and Allison Williams, have been photographed wearing dresses by designer Cong Tri.

The famous British diving champion Tom Daley is only one of nearly a hundred British celebrities who have been photographed in garments designed by Tran Hung.

Olly Murs, Roxy Horner, Helen Flanagan, Jenny Walse, Alexandria Riley, Nicola Mary Coughlan, to name a few, are just some of the other Olympic athletes who have worn Vietnamese fashion designers recently.

Creations by designer Tran Hung were worn by roughly 100 U.K. celebrities last year alone, including singer Olly Murs, model Roxy Horner and Olympic gold medalist Tom Daley.

Dresses by Chung Thanh Phong were worn by Harnaaz Sandhu, Miss Universe 2021, and Karolina Bielawska, Miss World 2021.

The K-pop band Aespa frequently commissions Quach Dac Thang, under the label Lalune, to create costumes for their performances.

Leyla Milani, an American model and wife of real estate mogul Manny Khoshbin, donned a silver-gray gown by Do Long at a party last March.

Outfits made by Vietnamese designers are gaining popularity around the world as a result of local designers' creative use of multimedia in advertising and the high quality of their products.

Through media and international trade, the ao dai and other traditional clothes of Vietnam have become well-known around the world over the last two decades.

In July 2014, businessman Trang Le established Vietnam International Fashion Week to showcase collections from both local and foreign designers. The event represents a significant shift in the country's fashion scene.

From 2014 until 2022, a slew of Vietnamese designers took their turn staging new collections on international runways.

In October 2014, designer Hoang Hai debuted his fall/winter collection atop the Eiffel Tower. When New York Fashion Week rolled around a year later, Ly Qui Khanh was there to showcase his collection. Kelly Bui participated at Shanghai Fashion Week that very same year.

Devon Nguyen made history in 2017 when she was the first Vietnamese fashion designer to be invited to showcase her collections at Paris Fashion Week.

Meanwhile, the "Em Hoa" collection Cong Tri debuted in Tokyo the same year was a major factor in bringing international attention to Vietnamese design. Outfits in his collection were later picked by global pop star Rihanna and lauded by numerous foreign media.

Next up for the Da Nang fashion designer was 2019 New York Fashion Week, where he presented a series of evening gowns in a bid to break into the American market.

Do Manh Cuong has participated in many fashion shows in America and Australia, while designer Phuong My's collections have been shown in Japan and America.

All of these efforts have helped bring global attention to the "made in Vietnam" movement.

The rapid adoption of technology and the allure of social media are additional means through which Vietnamese fashion have reached international audiences.

Many international clients favor Vietnamese brands like Lam Gia Khang, Chung Thanh Phong, Cuong Dam, Subtle Le Nguyen, Fanci Club and Lalune. These local Vietnamese fashion lines have been dedicated to promoting awareness on social media channels like Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook, as well as on e-commerce sites like SSENSE, Archipel, Moda Operandi, and their own websites.

After launching his label in 2019, Tran Khanh Duy has already seen several famous people—including Hailey Bieber, Bella Hadid, Dua Lipa, Olivia Rodrigo, and more wear his designs.

"Right from the start, I've been painstakingly sharing images of my creations on social media. Thanks to these photos, 90% of my customers now are from outside of the country," he said.

The designer added that Bella Hadid and the stylist for Kpop group Blackpink both approached him via social media in order to make purchases.

Over the course of the past few years, Cong Tri’s collections have been frequently featured in Vogue. He believes the magazine's credibility has helped him reach celebrities and their stylists.

When asked what Vietnamese designers need to do to win over more customers abroad, Tran Hung said local designers need to continue improving their craftmenshift, pay attention to every detail, and make outfits that fit the tastes and aesthetics that foreign clients looking for.

It is important, in the designer's opinion, to keep up with global fashion trends and to develop expertise in the manufacturing process.

The design team of Nguyen Nhat Viet and Le Thuy Giang, who go by the name Subtle Le Nguyen, decided against flashy marketing in favor of honing traditional tailoring skills.

Each season's offering is dedicated to the development and refinement of brand-new products. Using traditional attires as design inspiration helps them stand out and keep their international clientele coming back for more.

The duo distributes its wares to retail malls in China, Dubai, and Australia, in addition to uploading images of them on online platforms.

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