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Not yet Milan, City seeks fashion status

Update: July, 27/2006 - 00:00

Not yet Milan, City seeks fashion status

(27-07-2006)

Development of the fashion industry in Viet Nam was discussed at a round- table meeting organised yesterday by the British Council in Ha Noi.

Titled The Fashion Industry in Viet Nam – A Waste of Talent, the meeting aimed to give a greater voice to State-owned and private fashion enterprises, designers, fashion teachers and policy makers. The meeting also highlighted the need for fashion education to be linked more closely with the industry.

The chairman of Viet Nam Garment and Textile Association, Le Quoc An, said fashion design was not highly valued by the fashion industry in Viet Nam.

"There have been very few fashion products designed by Vietnamese designers which have been accepted on the international market," said An.

"Most of the big names in Viet Nam’s fashion industry do not even have their own design department."

Chairman of the International Garment and Textile Training Centre (IGTC) in HCM City, Diep Thanh Kiet, says that most young Vietnamese designers concentrate on haute couture fashion, which is mainly suitable for catwalks and not for ready-to-wear markets.

"I have to admit that haute couture provides for the greatest scope for creative expression, but the fashion industry is largely geared towards the ready-to-wear sector," he said.

Designer Ngo Thai Uyen, who is also director of the Ngo Thai Uyen Design Joint Stock Company, said fashion students in Viet Nam do not have the chance to practise and apply their knowledge in practical work.

"It has been shown that a lot of young designers don’t know how to realise their designs even though their drawing skills and ideas are of a high standard," she said.

Dr Martin Shoben, from the London Centre for Fashion Studies, said he agreed with Uyen’s view, adding that the London Centre’s aim was to nurture more international-standard designers in Viet Nam. The centre’s Ha Noi branch opened in 2004 and attracted hundreds of students.

Director of the Vocational Science Research Centre, Prof Do Minh Cuong, said a suitable training programme, which combines both basic background and other practical skills, should be offered at training centres as well as fashion colleges.

"Students who graduate from these centres and colleges will be the seeds of the industry’s future," he said.

"In addition, it’s necessary to set up a close link between fashion manufacturers and training institutions".

The Garment and Textile Association’s An said training programmes must focus more on the fashion industry’s demands, practical business knowledge and marketing strategies.

He said that to decrease the gap between theory and practical application, post-grad designers should undertake work experience at industrial garment and textile factories, to help develop their own trademarks.

It’s a move that IGTC’s Kiet said should also factor in the need to educate the nation’s fashion policy makers and managers.

The round-table meeting was attended by designers, fashion design teachers, educators and representatives of fashion enterprises from the UK and Viet Nam.

The British Council has been involved in Vietnamese fashion since 2002 and has organised a wide range of programmes including the UK-Vietnam Fashion Show, design training workshops and Street Symphony fashion shows in Ha Noi and HCM City. — VNS

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