Designer Alda Santini follows the Italian Fashion Design tradition. She has been recognised by Vogue for her Ladies' Collection made with eco-sustainable organic cotton and silks dyed with organic colours.
She worked as a designer for several big brands, such as Kookai, Mango, Zara and H&M. Today she's the CEO of her own brand, Emma.
She is now introducing her clothes to new markets in Asia. Her newest collection just debuted at the Viet Nam Autumn & Winter Fashion Week last weekend.
She spoke to Culture Vulture about her designs.
You appeared for the first time at the Viet Nam Fashion Week last weekend. Could you tell us about your participation?
I came to Ha Noi last Tuesday. I was invited by the Italian embassy to Ha Noi to attend Viet Nam Fashion Week. It's a good chance for me to get to know more about the Vietnamese fashion industry.
The invitation is very meaningful for me because I want to seek more opportunities to work with Vietnamese people. At a higher level it is a co-operative effort between Viet Nam and Italy.
I introduced two collections during the fashion week: my Ready-to-Wear collection on Saturday and Haute Couture on Sunday.
I designed the collection for Autumn & Winter 2016. A few designs in the collection debuted in Italy in January. And the rest of them were saved for Viet Nam Fashion Week.
I used mainly grey and black, with soft silk and satin materials. I tried to show the independence and freedom of women.
Did you like the Vietnamese designers' collections?
I liked some designs by Minh Hanh and others very much. The collection by Minh Hanh was inspired by Baroque art. She is talented in combining traditional with modern.
However, some other designers' collections weren't fashionable. I think it is very difficult for Vietnamese designers to launch Ready-to-Wear and Haute Couture collections at the same time.
In Italy, it is simpler for us to put Ready-to-Wear and Haute Couture together. The Ready-to-Wear is usually more sophisticated than normal wear. It is similar to Haute Couture.
In your opinion, what does Viet Nam need to develop its fashion industry?
Viet Nam Fashion Week plays an important role in the national fashion industry. Both designers and models can benefit from the fashion week.
Designers present their collections while models look for the opportunity to develop their careers.
It's not important whether the designers at Viet Nam Fashion Week are new to the game or have been around forever.
I know there are young designers appearing at Paris Fashion Week, but the most important thing is their products.
Vietnamese designers seem to lack creative ideas and aren't aware of new trends around the world. They need to co-operate with foreign partners, and research and develop their clothes to meet international standards.
Do you plan to get more involved with Viet Nam fashion?
I'm planning to co-operate with some Vietnamese designers and launch my brand in Viet Nam. I've come to Viet Nam three times in recent years to learn about the local market.
I have an Italian friend who is running a coffee shop in Ha Noi.
He told me a lot about Viet Nam and I thought: Why not present my collection there. My friend sends me stories about fashion in English and I read about it online.
Previously, I thought Viet Nam was like China - a world producer. But it is different. Viet Nam is not just a producer. It could develop its own fashion industry.
I want to understand more about Vietnamese people and culture, as well. Viet Nam is a country with a lot of potential. I have visited to other Asian countries and I see Viet Nam as very distinct. — VNS