Lam Gia Khang – a talented and passionate designer of Vietnamese fashion.
Photographer: Hậu Lê /
Model: Trịnh Thu Hương, Nguyễn Quỳnh Anh, Thanh Bình, Trần Hiền /
Make Up: Nga Li /
Assistants: Võ Minh Triển, Ngô Đức Việt, Thin Bình /
Location: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi
Lam Gia Khang and his brand GIA STUDIOS have received much attention from fashion lovers recently. His fall/winter collection was chosen as the first show of Vietnam International Fashion Week 2018 – not usual at the age of 28.
His hope is to grow GIA STUDIO into a broader brand that covers different products and represents a kind of lifestyle.
In 2016, Lam Gia Khang appeared on the 30 Under 30 Forbes Vietnam list in the filed of entertainment, music, fashion, sport, media and social activity.
Recently, Culture Magazin caught up with Khang to learn more about his fashion journey.
How did you get started?
I grew up in my mom’s clothing factory, every day looking at women preparing, picking, and dressing up in beautiful costumes. The beauty of fashion crept into my mind and left an unforgetable impression.
I played with needles and scraps of cloth as toys, using them to create new things. My mother noticed that I was gifted, so she taught me.
The older I get, the more I love fashion. I fought against my family to get into the fashion world right after high school graduation, instead of going to university like others.
You received First Prize in The Bevele 2012, Top 3 Project Runway Vietnam 2013, and two Elle Style Awards. How did these awards affect your career?
The competitions helped me showcase my skills and design thinking. These awards are the best proof of my ability. They gave me the motivation to move forward and showed me that my desire to become a designer was possible.
Before, I did not have any official education in fashion. I gathered knowledge and experience in the workplace. The award with Project Runway allowed me to win the scholarship at the London Institute of Fashion, what I desired after years of hard work. There, I learned to put my practical experience into lessons and mastered the fundamental knowlege that I could not possess if I just went to work.
After about two years of study, I returned to Saigon and established my own fashion brand. The awards made it easier for me to create a reputation and get a customer base.
How would you describe your design style?
From an early age, I was impressed by the elegance and delicacy of women. I always prioritize those two values in my work. Although I have showcased many collections on various themes, what I design is consistent. My three basic colours are beige, black and white, but I use materials differently so that things are not duplicated or boring.
Is there any meaningful story behind your themes? Why did you choose ballet for your most recent collection?
The main focus of my show is always my creations. I want to deliver the best image of GIA STUDIOS to our customers.
Fashion is not just clothes worn outside the body, it is lifestyle. In the Autumn Show of 2018 recreating the classics that are associated with the image of ballet dancer was the sincere recognition of the characteristics of a dancer: resilient, strong, and passionate.
Can you tell us more about the style, material and colours in that collection?
It is designed in a classic style, but with unique details that keep up with the current trends.
The impression of immutable elegance is in the use of beige, black and white. I “play” and create different shades with only these three basics.
You are a Vietnamese designer, but your designs seem to be Western. How do you balance the two?
In fact, it is very difficult to identify the Vietnamese factors in fashion, because with its historical characteristics have been influenced by many different countries. Sometimes Vietnamese style is the convergence of the East and West.
Vietnamese people are famous for their skillful hands. There are many techniques of making, crafting and using fabric. I often try to use those things in my design. All my products are processed in Vietnam, not in foreign countries. With the designs that use the materials developed in Vietnam, like Bao Loc or Ha Dong silk, I want to bring their souls into the product.
What is the perception of the Vietnamese towards high fashion? With the massive participation of big brands such as Zara or H&M, will Vietnam’s fashion industry experience any shortcomings or opportunities?
Compared with 10 years ago, Vietnamese people’s awareness of high fashion has been raised. The number of people interested in fashion is growing, proportional to the number of young people wo love to work in the field. The concepts and terms of fashion are gradually becoming popular. Designers have achieved their position with their own target customers.
The massive involvement of the big brands has created many shortcomings and also benefits. The competition is fiercer, but at the same time, it encourages Vietnamese brands to produce higher quality products. The increased exposure to major brands introduces an aesthetic to the population. As it grows, customers will know what they need, what they like, and choose the right brands with access to Vietnamese brands.
Can you give Asian women some tips on how to choose clothes to feel more confident?
There is no formula. To beautifully dress, women must understand themselves better than anyone else. They need to know what they want.
Fashion is a mirror reflecting the personality of each person. You are what you wear. You need to wear something that best represents your true self that makes you feel comfortable and confident.Then you will exude a natural beauty, which the fashion world calls “effortless beauty.”
What about minimalism style?
I would not consider myself a successful designer in minimalism style. Minimalism is a delicate, complex and long journey that I would probably spend my whole life pursuing. We need the “max” inside the “min.”
The “max” that I’m talking about here is the methods, the techniques, the things that are usually hidden inside, sometimes impossible to be seen through a glance. Typically, my designs have a very sophisticated lining, and sometimes are made from more advanced material than the outside. The goal is to create a comfortable feeling for the wearers. Fashion design is not just about making eye-catching clothes
Do you have any advice for those who are passionate about fashion?
Always try your best, do more than enough, and learn from anywhere you can. If you do that, even if the results are not what you expect, people will appreciate your effort.
This post is also available in: Tiếng Việt