Thursday, July 18 2019

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Vietnamese designers tap the global fashion industry 'gold mine'

Update: July, 10/2019 - 10:30

Fashion is not about just a few strides on the catwalk. It is an industry with revenues of trillions of US dollars each year. In recent years, a number of Vietnamese fashion brands have gradually strengthened their names and left their mark on the global fashion stage.

Trillion-dollar industry

Chanel's Fall 2019 Couture Show

Mark Twain has said, "Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society. A policeman in plain clothes is a man; in his uniform he is ten”.

The need to "wear" only comes after "eat". This has helped fashion become a global industry with huge revenues of trillions of US dollars each year. In the industry, fashion designers, manufacturers and retailers around the world work together to design, produce and sell clothing, shoes and accessories to meet diverse consumer needs.

The fashion industry generates huge revenues of $2.5 trillion a year and continues to grow rapidly. According to forecasts, the fashion industry’s revenue will double in the next 10 years with $5 trillion per year and the hiring of 60 million workers. In the US, up to four million people work in the fashion industry, higher than the automation industry, fast food and video games. Fashion brands can be giant multinational corporations like Gucci and Chanel, but in other cases they are small companies with only a few dozen employees.

Particularly in the garment industry, according to figures from Statista, demand for garments worldwide is expected to reach about $1.65 trillion by 2020, of which the US market will comprise about $334.2 billion (an average annual growth rate reaching 2.5%) and the 10 largest markets in Europe reaching a total of $291.2 billion (an average annual growth of 0.4%.

The garment industry accounts for 88% of export value in Haiti, 79% in Bangladesh, 59% in Lesotho, 52% in Cambodia, and 43% in Sri Lanka. India is also one of the major textile manufacturers, employing about 40 million workers and 60 million indirect workers, ranking second after its agriculture sector.

Currently, about 90% of Việt Nam's textile production is for export. In 2018, Việt Nam's textile and garment exports were estimated at $36.2 billion, an increase of 16.4% compared to 2017, making the country one of the top three textile exporters in the world, following China and India.

Vietnamese enterprises' global footsteps

With such great potential, the fashion industry has created many "empires" with a worldwide network. In order to build businesses worth billions of dollars, each brand must always be creative to build its own image. The defining aspect of each brand is its identity.

If popular names like H&M or Zara represent highly practical usage and affordable prices, high-end fashion and luxury brands must rely on telling a story or touching the heart of customers. It is no coincidence that Chanel symbolize feminism; Christina Dior symbolize beauty; and Rolex, a guarantee of high-quality and iconic watch pieces.

PHUONG MY Bridal Show at New York Bridal Fashion Week 

This is also the story of Vietnamese brands as they set foot in the fashion world. PHUONG MY, a "pure Vietnamese" brand owned by PHUONG MY Design Co. Ltd. has made its name with its high-end fashion line that combines a strong modern personality and an Asian heritage, which is not an easy mix.

Speaking with the press, Trần Phương My, the creative director, and designer and founder of the PHUONG MY brand, has not concealed her ambition to bring the brand's products to the world and integrate into the flow of the global fashion industry.

“It's time for the world to see that Vietnamese businesses can create products that can be compared of the same standards to international brands. It’s time to redefine “Made in Vietnam”, says the young entrepreneur. Starting six years ago with a store located at a corner of Lê Thánh Tôn Street in District 1 in Ho Chi Minh City, PHUONG MY is now present in 30 stores in 20 countries and territories, including France, Italy, Taiwan, China, the Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE.

For successful brands, fashion is not only about a few strides on the stage, but also about business management, business strategy, cash flow, revenue and profit. The brands are not only designers, but also brand-makers and good businesspeople. They do not go alone. Behind them is a talented team, working in the same direction.

As a founding member and managing director of PHUONG MY Design Co., Ltd, Trần Phương My, notes: “The fashion industry always changes in six-month cycles, or even less. It's a big challenge for fashion businesses. All operations of the company must learn to adapt constantly. Changing every day and making things better every day is inevitable.”

Backstage image of PHUONG MY show at New York Fashion Week

Asked about the "secret" of bringing products, especially her high-end product line, to customers who are the one per cent of the super-rich, My says:

“I always talk about asking the right questions for businesses. When you ask the right question, you can find the right solution. When decide to enter New York Fashion Week, most people ask ‘What can PHUONG MY bring to New York Fashion Week’. But at PHUONG MY, we ask ‘What can New York Fashion Week bring to PHUONG MY’. We need to strength, and the opportunities a new market can open to us, to know how to go further and prepare ourselves.”

My also highlights her team: "I'm only as good as the five people surround me. This applies to both domestic team and international team when expanding the market. It is important to find talented, good hearted people to surround yourself with, and to work with you. No one can do everything alone.”

She also emphasises: “It's important to have a clear goal, a good team, and to work hard. Because no success happen overnight.”

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