Architect-turned-designer infuses fashion with Vietnamese culture

Thúy Hang

ANN/ VIETNAM NEWS – After graduating from Hanoi Architectural University in 2013, Cuong Đàm had no idea that his life would suddenly change direction. After spending five years working as an architect, the young man found out that his true calling was in fashion.

“I realised that fashion is what I was really fit for. It wasn’t something impulsive. My passion for fashion has been nurtured since I was a kid. I was fascinated by fabrics and interested in doing anything to make women be more beautiful,” he said.

Cuong decided to open a fashion shop selling his first creations.

However, it’s not easy for a newbie to enjoy fruitful results, and Cuong tasted several bitter experiences due to his lack of professional knowledge in the industry.

“I didn’t have any knowledge then. Everything I have done at that time was based on my instinct. Materials, forms and designs – everything is new for an architect. I did everything by myself, from going to market to purchase fabric to finding garment workshops to turn my ideas and sketches into reality. Without any guidance from experienced people, and all the products were very basic, even rudimentary,” Cuong said.

Cuong Đàm says he is ‘a transporter of Vietnamese culture’. PHOTO: VIETNAM NEWS

During the first year, the young man struggled to figure out his target audience and what he needed to do to attract them. Nothing seemed to work. Revenue from selling clothing was just enough to pay for the rent of the shop.

It was then that Cuong realised passion alone wasn’t going to cut it, and that he needed professional knowledge. He decided to enrol in the London College for Design & Fashion (LCDF) in Hanoi to accumulate the necessary knowledge to become a designer.

Talking about the connection between architecture and fashion, Cuong said, “Although fashion and architecture seem unrelated, in fact, the art forms have similar principles in ratio, the connection of details creating a unified overall, structure, building and materials.”

For Cuong Đàm, knowledge of architecture gives a solid foundation for him to enter the fashion industry.

“All above all, both fashion and architecture have the mission of understanding the needs of people, thus creating works to satisfy those needs. Knowledge of architecture laid a solid foundation for me when I stepped into the fashion industry,” he said.

His collection Warriors in Yoshiwara presented at the 2020 Graduate Fashion Week was highly applauded by audiences and critics.

The collection, which was created during nine months and honoured women’s rights was named among the best 15 at the Vietnam NewGen Fashion Awards, organised by Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam and the LCDF.