Pham Dang Anh Thu has developed her own label – Joli Poli – which has recently gained popularity among teenagers in the domestic market. Thu's unique arrangements show creativity and personal touches. Ngoc Bich
pays her a visit.
Inner Sanctum: Despite being a young fashion designer, you have drawn lots of attention recently with your gentle but special collections. Why do you choose to work in this ever-changing industry?
When I was just a kid, I began developing my ideas about beauty, from my first sketches of clothes to buying fabric and sewing them on my own. But my first stroke of luck only came when I won the first prize in Hot Vteen 2006 (a TV show organised to search for talented teenagers from throughout Viet Nam). Unlike other competitors who considered it as an opportunity to enter showbiz, I saw it as a guarantee to the win the favour of the media and fans. Three people had a huge influence on my career: My grandfather, whose talent I inherited at birth. He was a lecturer at the Hue University of Fine Arts. Next is my father, who has given me huge spiritual support and showed me how to live my life to the fullest by following my passion. Finally, my twin brother and best friend designer Nguyen Thanh Tung because he taught me how to think about fashion design.
Inner Sanctum: As a youngster, what advantages and difficulties do you face in the fashion design industry?
Youth is the biggest advantage as you always have a strong and creative source of energy, infatuation for your career, and the ability to access things quickly, but sometimes it is also an obstacle, as you have to give your best to survive in this business. To pioneer a fashion trend for teenagers is also a huge challenge and it took me a long time to persuade myself to pursue this path.
Inner Sanctum: In your opinion, what is the most significant thing about working in the fashion industry?
For me, the first priority is that you have to keep your viewpoint and personal imprint on each simple and basic model. Most of all, never try to repeat yourself.
Inner Sanctum: At present, some youngsters choose unsuitable outfits while others pursue weird fashion styles. Do you have any advice or comments to help them improve their sense of fashion?
Mostly people think that outfits must be imposing and luxurious. For me, a fashion designer has to possess his or her own individual characteristics while not showing off or being pompous. You need to choose a path that fits you the best. For example, I used to think about my brand name, alternating between Joli Poli and Anh Thu Boutique, and I finally chose the first one.
Inner Sanctum: Can you share the secrets of your success with the Joli Poli brand name?
To be honest, I do not dare say that I am a successful person. However, the fire of indulgence always burns in my heart and the desire to renew myself can never be destroyed. They made me who I am today.
Inner Sanctum: In the first months of 2012, many designers revealed their new designs. What about you?
There is a thorny and eventful race in the Vietnamese fashion circle in 2012. This will be a blooming year of opposing and attractive trends and will also see the continuity of last year: retro with big dots and radiant colour blocks, and the classical gentleness of deep blue and orange tones. In addition, do not miss raw and vintage clothes, a kind of countryside flower. I cannot forget to mention the strong cuts inspired by the noble customs of the 1950s and 70s, and of course graphic design to create visual effects.
Actually, each fashion designer chooses different ways to develop his or her career. For me, I believe Joli Poli is convincing enough to create my personal imprint, and the most challenging thing is to be able to maintain the fire of enthusiasm inside, since fashion is an unstoppable field. Besides, I think the age of 24 is just the beginning for an artist like me. Joli Poli is my spiritual child that I always love and will not stop developing to repay customers' beliefs.
Inner Sanctum: You design clothes for other people. What do you wear for yourself?
Fashion must be suitable for the time and age we live in, but above all it must fit personal stature and taste. For me, in this cheerful air I like dressing in bright and nude colours when I go out. — VNS