Adrian Anh Tuan is now Creative Director of three high-end fashion brands of Viet Nam, Valenciani, Adrian Anh Tuan and ICE. Tuan is named as one of 25 successful young businessman of different nationalities in the book La vuelta de los 25.
When his first collection hit the catwalk, Adrian Anh Tuan secured a place in the circle of top national fashion designers. After opening his first shop in 2007, Tuan is now Creative Director of three high-end fashion brands in Viet Nam: Valenciani, Adrian Anh Tuan and ICE Souvenir. Tuan was one of 25 successful young businessmen of different nationalities included in the book La vuelta de los 25. Collections he introduced at Dep Fashion Show 10 and 11 received acclaim from fashion critics and the media. Tuan is also a stylist and columnist at AsiaLife, a monthly fashion magazine.
Inner Sanctum: What personal characteristic are you most proud of?
I work very effectively.
Inner Sanctum: How did you come into the world of fashion?
I have always loved fashion and wanted to be a fashion designer. I loved drawing and designing clothes since I was a kid. I graduated from Esmod Guerre Lavigne in Bangkok, then started to work for domestic fashion companies that imported famous international brands like Roberto Cavalli and Versace. I gained a lot of experience during this time before I launched my first fashion brand, Valenciani.
Inner Sanctum: How did your business start up?
I believed that my passion should help me earn me a living, so that I could follow it until the end. But I always considered myself a designer first and an entrepreneur second.
When I opened my first shop, most domestic designers only opened one or two shops with the goal of introducing their designs to the public. But I knew from the beginning that I wanted a chain of shops. A friend of mine and I launched the shop together and we spent two years figuring out what we should do. Her name is Valencia and my nickname is Nii – that was why we named my first brand Valenciani. I worked as the brand's designer and she worked on the business side. I gained a lot of experience running a business with her. When my friend left to study abroad, I continued developing my own brand as a designer – and businessman.
Inner Sanctum: And how is your business now?
There are eight shops now and we are going to open at least five more Valenciani and ICE Souvenir shops this summer.
I invested carefully in each collection. The price for each design is competitive, ranging from US$50 to 250 per piece. Unlike other design houses where each design is limited in number, we have many sizes and colours to meet the various demands of our customers.
Inner Sanctum: Who are your target customers?
Women who know how to love themselves, who are self-confident and energetic, who know what they want and how to get what they want – they are likely to be my customers.
Inner Sanctum: What makes your designs different from others?
Most of them are very feminine. No matter what material they are made of, they should flatter our client's feminine figures.
We also focus on the cut of the designs. They should make a woman more slender and more charming, so that she can feel more comfortable in her own skin.
Inner Sanctum: How do you find inspiration?
A collection can be inspired by anything: travel, a movie, a beautiful song. My recent collection at Dep Fashion Show 11 was inspired by American singer Lana Del Rey. I had her songs on my cellphone. Her voice made my hard working days more comfortable.
Inner Sanctum: How do you choose fabrics for your designs?
It depends on the fashion trends. The materials I choose vary season to season. Usually I go abroad to search for them. But for the next collection I will order them all to fit exactly with what I imagine.
Inner Sanctum: Who are your favourite fashion designers?
Frida Gianni, Haider Ackermann, Alexandre Vautier, Alber Elbaz… I follow their collections every time Fashion Week comes around.
Inner Sanctum: What do you think about copying ideas and designs – something that young Vietnamese designers are increasingly doing?
Being influenced by a design and copying it are two different things. I think only people who are not intelligent want to copy others' designs. I agree that everyone likes beauty, but you should create it yourself. — VNS